I have some fun over the past year with my Bank (nameless at this point for various reasons) discussing with them SEPA and my needs as a customer.
My first problem came when I wanted to pay for my attendance at the EBA Day. The requirement was to pay EUR840 from my Euro Account in the UK to the Finestra Euro Account at Coutts and Co.
I know that there's a Euro BACS service so asked the bank to pay using that. The reply I got was that there wasn't an interface to this and so it couldn't be done, but I could pay GBP20 and the transfer would be immediate. I was happy for the 2 day delay
and didn't want to pay GBP20. Also, the Bank weren't too happy when I told them where the interface for BACS Euro was in their organisation. Anyway, the long and short of it was that the Bank gave me the GBP20 to cover the GBP20 they wanted to charge me.
My next problem came when I asked for a Euro debit card for my Euro Current Account. The reply was something along the lines of "You can have a Euro cheque book, but we don't do a Euro debit card" I enquired about SEPA and how it would be very useful when
I'm travelling throughout Europe to have a debit card on my Euro account. Well, the Bank doesn't do a card and, to my knowledge, none of the UK banks provide this service.
Reasons for this, I can perceive are that the Banks make a turn on the conversion of EUR to GBP which would be lost if the service was provided for a EUR debit card. Also, with EUR to GBP for debit cards, this is outside the scope of SEPA so the Bank does
not have to comply.
End of the day, I'm not impressed with how the Banks in the UK are doing SEPA and as far as their staff are concerned, they know nothing at the sharp end of taking and answering customer queries. The general reaction has been "What??? - never heard of it).