Are you ready for SEPA?

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is a payment-integration initiative of the European Union for simplification of bank transfers denominated in euro.

It will apply across 32 European countries, including Ireland, and will make it easier for you to transfer or receive funds.

Put simply it will make doing business easier. But as a business you must be ready for the new changes ensuring your payment transfer process are compliant.

 

Image: www.slsp.sk

Image: www.slsp.sk

Are you  ready for the change?

SEPA comes into full effect on 1 February 2014, changing the way euro electronic payments are processed across Europe. It will mean that you can make and receive payments seamlessly, collect a direct debit on any euro account or make a credit transfer to any euro account within SEPA.

Image: www.gtnews.com

Image: www.gtnews.com

What are the main changes that SEPA brings?

  • From 1 February 2014, existing national payment schemes will be closed down, following which euro electronic payments will be processed through new SEPA schemes.
  • By that stage, all national direct debits and credit transfers must be SEPA-compliant. This will include everything from staff payroll to paying creditors or receiving a euro electronic payment from customers within SEPA.
  • National sort codes and account numbers will be replaced by an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and a Bank Identifier Code (BIC).

What will it mean for businesses?

From 1 February 2014, all euro direct debits and credit transfers within the designated 32-country area will be executed under the same conditions. This will create a more efficient borderless payment area by standardising euro electronic payments.

All businesses must be ready for SEPA, as all existing national systems will close on 1 February 2014. You will need to ensure that your pay-roll, direct debit and accounting systems are SEPA ready before 1 February 2014 so that you are able to make euro electronic payments after that date.

A key benefit for businesses is that faster settlement and simplified processes will improve cash-flow and potentially reduce cost.

How does SEPA Direct Debit work?

SEPA Direct Debit allows you to collect payments in euro from domestic and cross-border debtors throughout SEPA.

SEPA Direct Debit brings with it a number of important business changes:

New file submission time frames
New customer file formats
New automated process for rejected/returned transactions
Increased consumer protection rights
International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC) will replace national sort codes and account number.

Further information on SEPA

Contact Denis Herlihy  (061) 41 44 55 dherlihy@bdo.ie

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