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SEPA Direct Debits - the best kept secret in payments

It's been over a month now since the SEPA Direct Debits (SDD) scheme was launched - hurrah! But has anyone noticed? Within our tight knit payments community we have been shouting about the benefits of SDDs such as receiving payments quicker and cheaper than before, making corporates' processes more standardised across Europe and reducing operational costs. That said, an SDD might as well be a foreign language to the public, as it's the instrument that no one knows about.


A good example of how a bank can use SEPA to differentiate itself is Deutsche Bank with its SDD insourcing business. Rather than simply making the necessary changes to meet new market demands and comply with SEPA requirements, Deutsche Bank has acted on its vision to become the preeminent payments and clearing service provider in Europe by implementing a centralised payments hub that bridges the old payments world with the new one. The results speak for themselves, this past November alone there were 1.2 million SEPA Credit transfer transactions and Deutsche Bank processed approximately 10% of these. Additionally on November 2nd (the first day of SDD going live), 71 per cent of all SDDs processed were through Deutsche Bank's payment hub.


There's no doubt that increased signs of commitment from banks such as Deutsche Bank are reassuring, but ultimately many need to be encouraged by the governments themselves getting behind SEPA, rather than simply imposing the regulation. Banks are seeing the benefits, but their customers still don't know what they are. To put it bluntly, a customer is not going to buy something they have never heard of. So let's open the forum and start talking about the SDDs to a wider audience and help ensure that this damp squib takes off in 2010!



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