Single European Payments Area – What to do

The SEPA area is the area where citizens, companies, and others will be able to make and receive payments in euro, within Europe, whether between or within national boundaries under the same basic conditions, rights and obligations, regardless of their location

The European Payments Council (EPC) is the decision-making and coordination body of the European banking industry in relation to payments. The EPC develops the payment schemes and frameworks which help to realise SEPA.

The Commission’s aim is to standardize the method of payment/collection in force in EU countries in order to increase the level of competition among European banks in favour of consumers and businesses.

SEPA is the most important community initiatives in the area of payments and aspires to develop the progressive harmonization of schemes and electronic payment instruments within the member countries through the development and adoption of a shared protocol for payments (SEPA Credit Transfer) and authorized collections (SEPA Direct Debit).

The SEPA validity area involves 33 countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland  and United Kingdom.

 The regulations apply to EURO transactions.

For the SEPA CT (Credit Transfer payments) the changes are basically limited to the record layout: the new XML format ISO20022.

For the SEPA DD (Debit Direct collections) the changes involve :

  • The mandate management. The beneficiary must manage the payment authorization;
  • The data stored in the SEPA DD file are differents from those actually used in the others collections (for example in the Italian RID);
  • The characteristics of the collections will change with impacts on the certainty of the incomings, on the financial structure and on the accounting treatments.

It ‘also to be considered that, the change to the informations stored in the record layout, involves non only the systems (IT Department), but also the procedures and process (acquisition and management on customers and contracts).

About  the mandates management, the Italian community has developed an additional service (SEDA = SEPA compliant Database Alignment) in order to keep aligned the manadates. The SEDA will replace the actual “allineamento elettronico archivi RID”.

 The migration to SEPA can have different impacts depending on the specificities of the every company.

If the major area of interest are the customer collections (e.g. Italian RID), the SEPA effects and impacts could be very strong.

In conclusion, the main SEPA impacts on SAP systems concern:

  • bank master data: management of BIC and IBAN code
  • customer master data: bank details, mandate management
  • vendor master data: bank details
  • format file: management of new ISO20022 formats
  • new payments methods customizing
  • new accounting treatments

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