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SEPA Update

What is SEPA

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is a project developed within the European Union (EU) which seeks to create an integrated market for electronic payments in Euro. It aims to remove the distinction between national and cross-border payments and introduce a common set of payment standards and rules so that payments in Euro can flow quickly and efficiently throughout the EU.

SEPA Regulation

The SEPA Regulation came into force on 30 March 2012 and applies to Member States in the EU including the UK. The purpose of the SEPA Regulation is to drive the migration of existing national payments in Euro to the pan-European SEPA payment schemes to enable businesses and consumers to send and receive cross border payments in Euro as efficiently as domestic payments in Euro are currently made today.

The SEPA Regulation contains deadlines by which existing national Euro payment schemes must be replaced by the SEPA payment schemes:

  • 1 February 2014 for Eurozone countries; and,
  • 31 October 2016 for non-Eurozone countries.

As the UK does not have the Euro as its national currency, there will be an impact on the way in which businesses send and receive payments in Euro from 31 October 2016.

Impact on business customers

As we already offer single initiated SEPA Credit Transfers, you will not be required to make any technical changes to continue making these types of payment.

However, from 5th July 2016 onwards, we will no longer insist that you provide the BIC when making a single initiated SEPA Credit Transfer and you will only need to provide the IBAN of the account into which you wish to make the payment. This will only apply to SEPA payments i.e. payments sent abroad in other currencies (e.g. Dollars or Sterling) or sent in Euro to a non-SEPA country will require a BIC to enable the payment to reach the correct beneficiary account.

SEPA Credit Transfers are Next Day payments. This means that the beneficiary will receive the funds the day after the payment has been initiated, subject to cut off times and bank holidays. The pricing of SEPA Credit Transfers takes this into account. If you need to send a payment in Euros immediately, you can use our SWIFT service.

For further information on making SEPA payments, please contact your Relationship Manager.

Glossary of Abbreviations
SEPA Single Euro Payments Area which includes all European Union Member States as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Monaco
IBAN International Bank Account Number
BIC Business Identifier Code