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Thursday, 5 November 2009 15:58

Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is an initiative of the European banking industry that will make all electronic payments across the euro area - e.g. by credit card, debit card, bank transfer or direct debit - as easy as domestic payments within one country are now. The SEPA project is strongly supported by the European Commission and the European Central Bank. The Payment Services Directive provides the necessary legal framework for SEPA, as well as for better payments in all EU countries.

On a practical level, SEPA means that you will be able to make fast and secure transfers between bank accounts anywhere in the euro area, while if you are shopping abroad you will be able to use your bank debit card to make a payment in euro, just like at home.

SEPA will also help to improve all payments, whether they are domestic payments or cross-border payments between two euro area countries. All consumers will benefit from new rules ensuring transparent pricing and prompt transfer.

Banks have been able to make the first SEPA products available since 1 January 2008, and are aiming to make SEPA a reality for everyone by the end of 2010.

Find out more about SEPA and about the European Commission's involvement in this crucial project on the following pages:

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