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Guidance for implementing SEPA unveiled by European FS associations

The European Banking Federation (EBF), the European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB) and the European Payments Council (EPC) have published a joint guidance document to help their member-organisations and the broader market implement EU Regulation 260/2012, relating to the single euro payments area (SEPA).

With the first important step in the process of migration to a single payments area for retail euro payments now set for 1 February 2014, the EBF Payments Regulatory Expert Group (PREG) developed this industry implementation guidance document with a view to providing clarity to the market on a range of practical questions related to the SEPA regulation.

Endorsed also by Visa Europe, the SEPA Guidance document from the financial services (FS) organisations offers practical advice on the key questions raised by the payments market. The document is designed to help payment service providers interpret and apply the regulation, which stipulates mandatory deadlines for the introduction of SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and Direct Debit (SDD) transactions.

Chair of the PREG, Ruth Wandhöfer, who is head of payment strategy and market policy, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Citi, said: “We hope that the SEPA guidance document will play a key role in helping to enable a consistent and efficient implementation of the regulation across the Single Market and hence in ensuring that the significant benefits on offer, if SEPA is implemented in a harmonised way, can indeed be realised.”

She added: “One of the critical factors for the regulation’s ultimate success [or otherwise] in stimulating the achievement of an efficient and harmonised SEPA, will be the consistency with which payment service providers and their clients understand and implement the key requirements of the regulation.”