EPC approves Sepa cards framework

Source: European Payments Council

The European Payments Council today approved its SEPA Cards Framework at a Plenary meeting in Brussels. It also agreed to release its SEPA Scheme Rulebooks for credit transfers and direct debits for consultation amongst national banking communities who will deliver the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) as set out in the EPC Roadmap.

These are significant steps towards meeting the expectations of bank customers and the industry commitment to delivering SEPA, thereby satisfying the aspirations of the European Commission and the Eurosystem.

Gerard Hartsink, EPC Chair, said "I am delighted with the consensus that we have achieved and the progress that we continue to make in this ambitious programme".

The SEPA Cards Framework (SCF) spells out high level principles and rules which, when implemented by banks, schemes, and other stakeholders, will enable European customers to use general purpose cards to make payments and cash withdrawals in euro throughout the SEPA area with the same ease and convenience as they do in their home country. The SCF will create conditions for banks, cards schemes and all stakeholders to achieve the single market for card payments starting in 2008.

The SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme will establish a set of interbank rules, practices and standards to be observed by credit institutions. It will allow the banking industry in SEPA to offer a core credit transfer product to customers in euro. As a result, customers and banks will be able to make credit transfers in euro throughout SEPA as easily and efficiently as they do today in their local market.

Similarly, the SEPA Direct Debit Scheme will provide a set of interbank rules, practices and standards which will allow the banking industry in SEPA to offer a pan-European direct debit product in euro to customers. This Scheme will support significant innovation by the banking industry as it for the first time allows creditors, such as utility and insurance companies, to conveniently collect payments in euro due from their customers whether local or from other countries throughout SEPA.It is planned to complete the consultation on both Rulebooks by the end of 2005 and to bring the schemes to the market ready to be used by customers by the beginning of 2008.

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