SEPA - Single Euro Payments Area


SEPA - the new frontier for payments

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) was created as part of a pan-European project aimed at offering citizens in the European Community the possibility of carrying out Credit Transfer and Direct Debit operations to counterparties in any Eurozone country by using a set of harmonised payment instruments. Within the SEPA, all payments in Euros are considered “domestic”. Hence there is no distinction between national and transnational payments within the Eurozone.


The SEPA is made up of harmonised payment instruments (credit transfers, direct debits and payment cards); European infrastructures for the processing of euro-denominated payments, common technical standards and operating practices (UNIFI -ISO 20022 - XML standards), a harmonised legal framework and evolving, customer-focused services.


The European banking sector's decision-making and coordination body for SEPA is the EPC (European Payments Council) , which has defined a formal plan that will enable the gradual shifting from national payment tools to the equivalent pan-European ones.


The end users of payment services consider that SEPA should not impair the quality or efficiency of existing domestic collection and payment services (principle of non-regression). The transition from domestic instruments to SEPA thus requires the EPC to have the appropriate Additional Optional Services (AOS). Enterprises will work with the Italian banking sector to ensure that the AOS developed nationally are promoted at the relevant venues, in order to obtain the widest possible use within the EU. It is hoped that they will be included in the next versions of the Rulebooks.


The EPC's Plan for 2004-2010 requires that by the end of the target period (2010) a critical mass of national payments must have migrated to the pan-European models.

However, given the failure of the self-regulation mechanism, in 2012 the European Commission imposed an obligation for migration of national procedures to SEPA by 1 February 2014.  The process has been launched and is still ongoing.


The national and European authorities are contributing to the works to implement SEPA payment models.


More details and information about the status of the Italian system with regard to SEPA migration and the SEPA instruments approved by the EPC can be found on the SEPA-ABI website or by reading the National Migration Plan approved by the National Migration Committee on 4 May 2007 as amended.


Consorzio CBI

R.E.A.  N. 1205568 - C.F. e n. Reg. Imp. di Roma 97249640588 - Partita IVA  08992631005