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17 July 2014

EPC Blog: 1 August 2014 does not mark the end of the SEPA migration process

The European Payments Council summarises best practices identified in the euro area during the migration process. The recommendation offer lessons for future implementation.

To avoid difficulties for non-compliant market participants, in February 2014 the EC, the EP and EU governments agreed to amend the SEPA Regulation, to give the option to continue processing non-SEPA formats until 1 August 2014. However, 1 August 2014 does not mark the end of the migration process. 
The following deadlines also apply:
  • 1 February 2016:
    • Transitional arrangements in EU Member States: the SEPA Regulation has introduced several possible exemptions regarding the use of the International Bank Account Number (IBAN), the Business Identifier Code (BIC) and the ISO 20022 XML message standards by the February 2014 deadline. EU Member States have discretion as to whether they will use any or all of the options to derogate from the 1 February 2014 deadline (until 1 February 2016) with regard to the use of the IBAN, the BIC and the ISO 20022 XML message standards by payment service users.
    • Niche products, which have been granted an exemption: the SEPA Regulation, in particular, stipulates that credit transfer and direct debit transactions with a cumulative market share of less than 10 percent in an EU Member State must comply with the provisions set out in this legislative act only by 1 February 2016.
  • 31 October 2016:
    • non-euro countries will have to comply with the SEPA Regulation by 31 October 2016.
It is important that, following 1 August 2014, countries in- and outside of the euro area do not overlook these other deadlines, but rather actively prepare to ensure that they are ready to meet them on time. Meeting the next SEPA deadlines established by the EU lawmakers requires continued and coordinated efforts by the public authorities driving the SEPA process, the representatives of payment service users as well as banks and other service providers.


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