Sepa: special focus
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Sepa: special focus

The Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) aims to make cash transfers between European countries fast, cheap and simple – but the migration process has proved slow, expensive and complex.

Banks and corporations in the eurozone were told they must comply with the core provisions of the Sepa regulation, the EU’s flagship cross-border payments system based on IBAN and BIC, by February 1, 2014.

Firms within 32 nations – the 27 EU member states, EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and Monaco – have a regulatory requirement to replace their existing national euro credit transfer and direct debit schemes with the standardized Sepa credit transfer (SCT) and Sepa direct debit (SDD) via XML (extensible markup language).

However, an alarming number of companies were still not ready, so the EC was forced to intervene, adopting a proposal to allow an extra six months from February 1 when payments that differ from the Sepa format can still be processed by banks and clearing houses. There was a fear that Europe’s payment system, which handles 80 billion of transactions a year, might have been paralysed had the EC not intervened.

Today, the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB), chaired by the European Central Bank (ECB), is addressing post-SEPA migration issues. The ERPB is also working to achieve instant payments in euro, and person-to-person mobile payments and contactless payments.

Here is a comprehensive list of Euromoney's latest coverage, plus choice pickings. 

Imperial FX moves from high street to online

January 2018

Looking further ahead, the UK’s access to the Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) post-Brexit is a concern.

International real-time payments still in early stages

November 2017


Domestic real-time payments are spreading as more countries adopt the technology, but the move to international, cross-currency payments is still some time off. Order The Single Euro Payments Area's (Sepa) instant credit transfer scheme (SCT Inst) went live on Tuesday, enabling payments to be made between European countries. 

T2S implementation opens up settlements overhaul

November 2016

Unlike other European-wide regulatory initiatives, such as the Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa), it has not been implemented in a single push.

Regulators face balancing act for global rule implementation

October 2016

The World Payments Report unsurprisingly showed that the Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) was having a moderate impact on Europe, but was not an issue in the US or Asia.

Treasurers lash out over compliance burden

May 2016

Questioned on what their priorities for the year would be, 25% of treasurers stated it would be complying with regulations such as Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) and Emir.  Virtual account management looks beyond Sepa’s borders

March 2016

After the groundwork was laid by Sepa, virtual account management (VAM) had the chance to thrive in Europe. Now the question is how to make it work better for corporates and banks alike, and expand its use outside western Europe and the traditional corporate sector.

Real-time payments face euro split

November 2015

Europe does not have the infrastructure in place for implementing cross-border real-time payments. The ECB have called for this to happen, and EBA have recently issued an RFP to find a provider.

PSD2 opens up payments competition

October 2015

The rules on the revised Payment Services Directive have been finalized by the European Commission (EC), allowing third parties to initiate payments between bank accounts. But should this be a cause for concern for the traditional players?

Western Europe sets standard on payments

October 2015

The Single Euro Payments Area prompted a wholesale change in how European banking operates and set a precedent for other regions on the possibilities open to them.

Sepa enables European treasury sophistication

October 2015

Full Sepa implementation has facilitated the creation of an ever-more sophisticated corporate treasury landscape across Europe. The challenge now is to inform treasurers of its diverse benefits.

Banking clubs extend global reach

February 2015

International banking alliances offer a number of benefits to treasurers – from FX hedging to cash pooling – while Sepa and the rise of non-bank payment providers have yet to diminish their allure.

2014: a year in data – Sepa

January 2015

Self-Explanatory Poll Answer... 

Sepa provides force for change in transaction banking

December 2014

The single euro payments area (Sepa) initiative was something so burdensome it took longer than planned to implement, but after delays transaction banks and their corporate clients stand to benefit from this payments regulation.

Setting the foundations of standardization

November 2014

There is much discussion around moving towards a standardized form of banking, but who is setting the standard?

Corporates look to make regulation pay

September 2014

It is not common to hear about the positive side of financial market regulation. But corporate treasurers are finding ways to turn the new rules to their advantage.

How to engineer a cash management monster

September 2014

What does it take to succeed in the increasingly competitive world of transaction services? Internal collaboration, global footprint, adaptability, connectivity and mobile technology all make up part of the equation. But every bank, and every client, is different.

Corporate treasurers find opportunity amid regulation

August 2014

Corporate treasurers are looking for the simple life, and having more efficient systems in place can bring its own financial rewards – but despite some advances, there is still a long way to go.

Gear up for Sepa 2.0

July 2014

The extended deadline for Sepa is fast approaching and, despite initial fears, corporates are set to meet it – but this is the first step in creating an efficient single European payments framework. Debate about Sepa 2.0 is now in full swing.

Sepa threatens to induce SME cash-flow squeeze

February 2014

European companies, and particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), could yet suffer a cash-flow squeeze from direct debits under the Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) regulation, despite the European Commission handing companies an extra six months to comply.

Companies use Sepa as opportunity to refine payment processes

February 2014

European companies have to be Sepa-compliant this year, and many have used this as an opportunity to tidy up payment processes to give better visibility over liquidity and cash flow.

European companies struggle with derivatives reporting deadline

January 2014

Some companies are putting more of their efforts into complying with the Sepa project than EMIR.

EC intervenes to forestall Sepa-induced crisis 

January 2014

The European Commission has moved to thwart the rising threat of another liquidity crisis in the eurozone by offering European companies more time to migrate to the Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) system.  

How will Sepa impact banks' $108 billion payments revenues?January 2014

Banks are facing up to the challenges posed by the upcoming Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa), which threatens to undermine a lucrative - and historically stable - source of revenue for financial institutions, with the interchange-fee legislation adding insult to injury

Martin Schlageter, head of treasury operations, Roche

"There is no room for complacency"

Challenging year ahead for transaction banking industry 

January 2014

Although the implementation of the Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) presents the biggest and most pressing challenge to the European transaction banking industry at the outset of 2014, there are reasons for banks and their corporate clients to be optimistic about the year ahead.

German companies trailing in Sepa migration race  

October 2013

Bid to redraw European payments landscape faces delays  

August 2013

Corporates way behind schedule as Sepa deadline looms

July 2013

Most corporates are still wholly unprepared for mandatory compliance with the Single Euro Payments Area, the EU’s flagship cross-border payments system, with a lack of understanding of its scope and impact.

The long and winding road to Sepa

March 2013

International cash management banks adapt to a tough new world

March 2013

Transaction banking: a year of fundamental change

March 2013

The 2013 guide to Technology in Treasury Management

March 2013

No time to lose on Sepa compliance

February 2013 

Lesley White, head of EMEA treasury products at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

"It's finally the year of Sepa"

New year's resolutions for the transaction banking industry

January 2013Banks face up to Sepa deadline

January 2013

Cash management strategy debate: Cash management in a world of risk and complexity

January 2013

Cashless payments underpin economic growth

November 2012

Sepa migration: A lame duck struggles to make common senseFebruary 2010

Cash management debate: Sepa: A new model for Europe?January 2006

The European Central Bank publishes an official progress report monitoring Sepa migration.

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