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02 November 2010

EPC calls on EU lawmakers to set end dates for migration to the SEPA schemes through regulation

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EPC Chair, Gerard Hartsink, stressed that it is now up to EU lawmakers to provide planning security to all market participants by setting a clear deadline for migration to the SEPA schemes.

The single element now required to achieve an integrated euro payments market is a clear deadline for the transition to the SEPA payment schemes. The EPC calls on EU lawmakers to set an end date for migration to SCT and SDD through EU regulation. The EPC believes that a possible forthcoming regulatory intervention relating to SEPA, as outlined by the European Commission earlier this year, would derail the entire SEPA project. As such it would eliminate the extensive benefits SEPA would offer bank customers.
The SCT and SDD schemes evolve based on a transparent change management process providing all stakeholders with the opportunity to introduce suggestions for changes to the SEPA schemes. Proposed changes to the schemes are subject to a three-month public consultation. As a result of this annual change cycle, the SCT and SDD schemes incorporate numerous features introduced by end users. The limited number of requests for new elements to be introduced into the newly released rulebooks demonstrates the maturity of the SCT and SDD schemes and highlights that they are fit for purpose. In accordance with best industry practice, banks and their service providers have sufficient time to address the rulebook updates ahead of November 2011, when these revised rulebooks will come into effect.
1 November 2010 is also an important target date for the roll-out of SDD services by banks. EU Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 establishes mandatory reachability of all banks in the Euro Area for cross-border direct debits. In practice, this means that any consumer who holds an account in the Euro Area, which provides the option to make euro direct debit payments at a national level, can now make cross-border payments by SEPA Direct Debit as well. As a result, paying bills becomes significantly easier for mobile European citizens. At the same time, companies are now able to collect payments by SDD across the euro area resulting in enhanced business opportunities.


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