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Great post reminding us about the practical impacts of changes in our core payment systems!
A solution for your problem with the reference is already on the way - it's called (structured) creditor reference.
Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creditor_Reference and
Once your Belgian city parking authority starts issuing their tickets with the above, you will have no trouble in paying it via your Finnish netbank.
it is true that there will be standard coming out (soon). But as living in the capital of Eurocrats, where EU wide laws are passed out but not too much implemented in time, high hopes for reference codes are low to take place in practice.
There is now a global ISO standard in place for the payment reference (thanks to Olli Kähkönen at Nordea). One step has been taken. The next one is to implement it.
True, there is standard out there. Only now it needs the biggest hurdle, implement it. I tried with it my current online bank and I didn't work. I asked them and got no definite plan for it.
As I have been seen several banks an their online versions, there is no reference field what so ever. Those are the really big countries which makes a difference on payments.
As long as these little changes are not in place, SEPA still is luxury car with only first two gears working. But third gear (reference codes) is showing and fourth (e-invoice) is also planned to be in production. Fifth gear, that is real time or nearly
real time payments like Faster Payment in UK, that would be super.
I would like to bet, that this great standard does not take place before 2012 with companies, meaning big or small companies are not benefiting anything from SEPA. It is egg and hen situation. As long as banks do not implement it to their net banks and educate
companies and customers to use it, companies are not using those or even asking those. Especially in countries where still cash management is run by local old fashion book keeping companies. Why they should loose their business?
I guess you were driving on a Belgian plate and not a Finnish one - it's a long drive to Brussels via Vilnius. Otherwise it would count as very royal to even try to pay the ticket: there is £20 million outstanding in Westminster alone on unpaid fines for
non-UK vehicles so please come and park your car anywhere here: we need the money. The old payment method was abolished in Belgium in 2007 of taking a tear-off portion of the ticket to the post office and buying 'tax stamps' (fiscale zegels), that's how I
paid the fine on my Renault 5 in 19nn: I think they accepted cash, Mistercash or postage stamps, maybe even local luncheon vouchers as these were centrally issued at that time. Now the tear off strip is a form for an 'overschrijving' with the payee's reference
code in MICR: you have to have a local bank account to use it. The traditional UK method of reacting to this frustration would be to write a cheque on a slab of concrete and throw it through the parking authority's window. The slab is hard to run through the
cheque truncation machines, though, and this is why cheques are slated for abolition in 2018. Conclusions? Solutions? By which I mean solutions that have some realistic chance of coming to fruition. You were lucky that the parking authority did not suffer
a charge at its bank, since the payment was cross-border, requiring you to make a second payment to clear off your balance: that shows that although SEPA has not fully happened, some progress on PSD and on Reg2560/2001 aka Reg 924/2009 is noticeable. I would
say that was good news and we should all feel a lot happier.
PS here's the link to the announcement of the abolition of fiscale zegels
Bob, that is true. I believe SEPA in general is really good thing. Most of my local bills I pay with finnish bank as SEPA payments. But once in a while, when you have to find and prove that payment is done on time, while waiting over telephone and sending
faxes to them, it makes me wonder if this will work. Of course when I am coming out of country of organized payment systems, this ticks me a bit.
Antti - SEPA may even have a reverse gear if the current STP and service level/functions on domestic payments are reduced during a transition to XML, merely because of mismatches between legacy and SEPA schemes.