SEPA – straightforward and efficient euro payments for companies
Since 2014, electronic payment transactions within Europe have had to take place exclusively via SEPA (the Single Euro Payments Area). We help internationally active Swiss companies affected by this to make the switch, and offer a comprehensive range of SEPA products.
The aims of SEPA
SEPA was originally a regulatory initiative of the European Union. Its aim was to make euro payments within Europe more dynamic and competitive. SEPA transfers were introduced in January 2008, and SEPA Direct Debits followed in 2009. Since 2014, all standard payments in all euro countries have had to take place exclusively via SEPA. Switzerland is not directly affected by this EU/EEA ruling and will continue processing domestic payment transactions using the solutions currently in place. That said, the "Harmonization of Swiss payment transactions" initiative is also bringing the Swiss financial center closer to the European standard.
Even if Switzerland is not directly affected by this European ruling, SEPA and its related adjustments to companies’ internal systems and business processes are having an impact on Swiss firms, in particular for:
- Business activities in EUR in the European Economic Area out of Switzerland, and/or
- Subsidiaries domiciled in the European Economic Area that have local banking relationships involving EUR payments in European countries
You may have to make the following changes if you make SEPA payments at your company:
- Use of IBANs instead of banks’ own account numbers
- Use of ISO 20022 XML as the new data format for payment transactions, instead of national formats
- When managing mandates for SEPA direct debits, your business software must support the management of SEPA mandates correctly
SEPA lets you make euro payments to participating financial institutions in around 30 countries more easily, transparently, securely, rapidly, and cost-efficiently. In addition, thanks to standardization, you can reduce how many banking relationships and bank accounts you need in Europe. SEPA lets you pay:
- More easily, through fully automated processing of IBAN and BIC payments
- More transparently, through clear instructions on how charges are to be distributed
- More securely, through the use of uniform verification criteria at all banks
- More rapidly, as all orders submitted by the cut-off time are forwarded the same day
- More cost-efficiently, as a payment in euros costs the same as a domestic payment
In addition, there are advantages over and above SEPA itself:
- More transparent cash management through standardized reporting
- Automated processes thanks to structured and uniform references
- Easier centralized processing of credits and payments (collection/payment factory) through standardized interfaces
- Lower costs for internationally active companies over the long term, thanks to a payment transaction platform with uniform standards throughout the SEPA area
- Compatibility with future Swiss payment transaction standards
UBS has been part of SEPA right from the start. We were the first Swiss bank to make SEPA transfers for our clients, and successfully accompanied them throughout the introduction of SEPA direct debits. When you switch your payment transactions to SEPA in the EU and in the EEA, you can count on our experience and support.
Your UBS client advisor will be happy to answer your questions and put you in touch with our cash management specialists.
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