About three month time ago I got parking ticket here in Belgium. Like every good citizen I paid my ticket. Because we live in the world of SEPA area, I went to my Finnish online bank and paid a ticket. Of course Belgium is one of those countries, where they
have structured payment reference codes, which makes all the payments easier to automate in the ledger system without manual work. I tried to put it reference codes in correct order in my Finnish online bank, like my city is expecting. At least then I could
save a bit of my earned tax money. But my Finnish online bank didn't accept it, because it is not in the Finnish format. So I wrote that same code to so called "free text area". In that area there is no checking. An then just validated payment and off I went.
Few weeks later I got a notice for unpaid ticket. I didn't do anything. One month went by and I got second notice. Then I started to do something. Finally I got a person to talk with. I promised to send her a copy of my statement. After few days later I
got a note that payment is found and paid on my behalf.
When SEPA was introduced to companies, there was always saying that only one bank account is needed for companies and they can do business all of the Europe.
SEPA is coming to change the Europe, but should all the companies who have customers around Europe force banks to create on format of reference codes. Otherwise SEPA to me is like a brilliant luxury car, but only two first gears are working. If there is
no automated reference codes, all the companies have to hire more people to monitor and allocating payments.