SIX Group plans Sepa direct debit service

SIX Group plans Sepa direct debit service

Swiss financial infrastructure firm SIX Group says it will begin offering a Sepa-compatible outsourced direct debit processing service when the SDD scheme launches in November.

The firm is working with the SECB Swiss Euro Clearing Bank, Frankfurt on the offering for financial institutions in Switzerland and 30 other countries within the Sepa zone.

The package has been developed by SIX Interbank Clearing and SIX Paynet together with the SECB on behalf of the Swiss financial centre and with the participation of the country's financial institutions.

The partners will provide the technical requirements for the rule-confirming processing of direct debits. SIX says this means financial institutions can introduce euro direct debits for their customers easily, quickly and inexpensively without having to adapt internal payment traffic infrastructure.

EBA Clearing is already working with 66 major banks to prepare for testing of its Step2 Sepa direct debit services ahead of the scheme's launch while VocaLink has completed pilot testing between corporate customers and three financial institutions, ABN Amro, Bawag and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Earlier this year the European Payments Council agreed on a November 2009 launch date for the implementation of Sepa direct debits, following a strong push by the ECB and the European Commission.

But there have been concerns about the Sepa scheme's rate of progress, with French banks recently pushing back the date for implementation of SDD by a year.

Since then the EC has launched a consultation on whether to set a deadline for the migration of credit transfers and direct debits to provide a signal that the process is irreversible and act as a "strong incentive" for both industry and users to speed up progress.

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