Banks will start to offer customers the possibility to make regular payments using the new SEPA Direct Debit scheme, meaning that consumers and businesses will be able to make direct debit transactions between different countries in the euro area.
From 2 November, banks will start to offer customers the possibility to make regular payments using the new SEPA Direct Debit scheme. This means that, for the first time, consumers and businesses will be able to make direct debit transactions between different countries in the euro area. Supporting the industry-led scheme are new EU rules on payment services and cross-border payments, in force as of 1 November, which are designed to ensure that SEPA Direct Debits will be as easy, efficient and secure as national schemes without being more expensive. Thousands of euro area banks have already signed up for the new scheme.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "This is another significant achievement on the road towards a Single Euro Payments Area. Thanks to industry's efforts and a solid legal platform at EU level, direct debit payments can now be made between different countries in the euro area – good news for consumers, for businesses and for the economy as a whole. This is a new and highly innovative product with real practical benefits, and I encourage those banks not currently participating in the scheme to join the thousands that have already signed up."
Direct Debits are a convenient way for consumers to make recurring payments and an efficient method for companies to collect money such as bills for water, gas, electricity and telecom services as well for magazine and periodical subscriptions. A direct debit is initiated by creditors, but customers always have the right to decide whether or not to accept a direct debit on their bank account. Although direct debits are widely used in many euro area countries, at present, there is no pan-European scheme in place for making these payments possible across borders. Thousands of European banks have already signed up for the new scheme at the launch date.
© European Commission
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