En route to SEPA
Euro payments made simpler and cheaper
The first step towards a Single Euro Payments Area was the introduction of the international account number. IBAN and BIC have been obligatory for all cross-border euro payments within SEPA countries since 1 January 2006. New common procedures with standardized processing rules and regulations for credit transfers, direct debits and card payments will follow on 2008. UNIFI ISO 20022 XML will be the binding interbank data format for SEPA. The transmission of full, structured details on payment purpose and expanded reference fields will enable processes to be automated and optimized all along the payment chain - from issuing the instruction to processing and reporting. You as a customer and all involved parties will benefit from this.
By February 2014, SEPA instruments will run parallel to the present euro payment services products. From March 2014, standard payment transactions in eurozone SEPA countries will have to be processed via SEPA. Non-eurozone EEA countries have a two-year extension (to October 2016). Although Switzerland is not affected by these deadlines, it is important that companies and software suppliers prepare their systems for SEPA.
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