The challenges of regulation for SEPA were made clear in the "SEPA 2010" session at Sibos today when the European Commission declared that "moving from self-regulation to regulation is not a small step but a major challenge”. In a sense, that sentiment comes
as no surprise at all, given how far we've already travelled down the road to SEPA.
The sad thing is that this Sibos session yet again showed how far we have yet to go. Communication around SEPA is seen to be key and needs to be stepped up dramatically. It is, however, being pitched as a shared responsibility. I was heartened though to
learn that the intention of the EC is not to lead to a re-fragmentation of the market.
Mind you, I can't help feeling that the SEPA initiative is a major project which still has no clear project manager. The benefits of SEPA will undoubtedly come - we just have to remain patient for a while longer.
SEPA for cross-border is fine. But, I hope regulators seriously rethink their plans to mandate SEPA for domestic payments. There's already talk of making UK's Faster Payments available on mobile phones in a simplified manner in which Immediate Mobile Payments
can be made using just the mobile number of the beneficiary. In this day and age, isn't it a bit retrograde to ask consumers to move from the already tedious 10-12 digit account numbers and 6-8 digit sort codes to an even more cumbersome SEPA regime that asks
them to enter 20+ character IBAN numbers and 8+ character BIC codes for domestic payments?
© Finextra Research 2014