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Uncertainty piled on uncertainty - the SEPA story

The journey towards SEPA has been dogged by uncertainty from the start. End-users have not been sure what is on offer from the banks and at what price. Banks have been unsure whether and how to invest in SEPA, unsure about the impact of regulation (especially the PSD), and unsure how the financial crisis might affect their plans or lack of them. Then they have dithered about Additional Optional Services: are they a necessity or a luxury, and how should they best be deployed? And the whole market has been unsure about the adoption of the new SEPA instruments: when and by how much?

But then a consensus emerged that an agreed end-date for the retirement of the legacy payment instruments would cut through all of this, and enable the whole industry to move forward together with certainty towards the ultimate goal. Hallelujah!

But what has happened? The brand new SEPA Council, comprising at last the major stakeholders in the SEPA initiative, held its inaugural meeting, and, as Finextra reported (7 June 2010) “the main issues discussed at the first meeting were the need and conditions to establish migration end-dates for SEPA”.

And then came Finextra’s report of 10 June 2010 which proclaimed “SEPA migration deadlines: dates floated but no decision”. Uncertainty continues to reign...

Pliny the Elder was right: “In these matters the only certainty is that nothing is certain”.


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