Sunday, July 21, 2024

Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)

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Thanks to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), customers can make cashless euro payments – via credit transfer
and direct debit – to anywhere in the European Union, as well as a number of non-EU countries, in a fast, safe and
efficient way, just like national payments. SEPA was introduced for credit transfers in 2008, followed by direct
debits in 2009, and fully implemented by 2014 in the euro area (and by 2016 in non-euro area SEPA countries).

The payment integration triggered by SEPA has contributed to the efficiency and competitiveness of the European
economy as a whole by eliminating differences between national and cross-border payments by harmonising standards in
all the participating countries. The legal framework for SEPA – which the ECB helped to draw up in close cooperation
with the European Commission – is based mainly on the Cross-border payments Regulation, the Payment Services Directive
, the SEPA migration end-date
, and the Interchange
Fee Regulation

SEPA was launched by the European banking and payments industry with the support of national governments, the
European Commission, the Eurosystem, and other public authorities. As SEPA not only harmonised the way non-cash euro
payments are conducted, but also completed the introduction of the euro as the single currency, the Eurosystem had a
very strong interest in the success of the SEPA project.


The SEPA region consists of 36 European countries, including several countries which are not part of the euro area
or the European Union (status: 2 January 2023).

In addition to the highlighted countries; Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican City State / Holy
See are also part of SEPA.

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