MEPs vote for 2014 Sepa deadline

MEPs vote for 2014 Sepa deadline

The European Parliament has passed legislation creating a legally-binding deadline of 1 February 2014 for banks to migrate to Single euro area payment (Sepa) credit transfers and direct debits.

Having agreed the migration date with the European Council in December, Parliament has now rubber-stamped the deal, with legislation adopted in the first reading with 635 votes in favour, 17 against and 31 abstentions.

European legislators have long accepted the need to enforce migration deadlines from national credit transfers and direct debits to Sepa, conceding self-regulation has failed to bring the move about quickly enough.

The parliament says that by finally pushing through end-dates, the continent can ensure that banks compete fairly, eliminate hidden national charges, and accelerate transfers that could save up to EUR123 billion within six years, benefiting clients, financial institutions and businesses.

Sepa rapporteur Sari Essayah, MEP, says: "This regulation really benefits citizens. It will enable them to make payments from one bank account to others all over Europe, just like a normal domestic payment...Companies will benefit too, by not needing more than one bank account in Europe for each payment purpose."

Charlie McCreevy, the former European Commissioner for Internal Markets and Services & non-executive board member at Sentenial, discusses the most urgent issues confronting institutions in the migration to Sepa.

Comments: (2)

Sean Fitzgerald
Sean Fitzgerald - CEO - Sentenial 14 February, 2012, 16:41Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

After a long marathon from Lisbon to we finally hear the gun for the sprint to the finish. While 24 months, 8 quarters, 2 years is challenging, as an industry we can't protest lack of notification. While SEPA defines the end, the starting point is different for most and therein lies the root of the complexity. However, there are proven solutions available, so it is certainly possible. I think the passing of the regulation delivers a  necessary certainty to the industry. While the debate around interpretation will now commence, it would be sensible to respect the spirit of what the regulation sets out to achieve as the delegated powers to the Commission will enable quick 'text correction' to ensure those ends are achieved regardless. For the most part the debate can finish and the implementation phase commence in earnest. 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 15 February, 2012, 08:28Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

One benefit the European citizens will receive is that in the future you as a payer/consumer will have to pay a fee to your bank for direct debit since the interbank fee will be discontinued. This will benefit corporates and other payees with a lower price for the service.