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SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) is a project that applies to all of Europe and it pursues the goal of standardising European payment transactions.

SEPA primarily includes the countries of the Eurozone, but also the other countries of the EU as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Monaco and San Marino. 

Hotlines

SEPA-Hotline 050505/26400
IBAN-Infoline 050505/26440 

Goals of SEPA

EU Regulation 260/2012 establishing technical and business requirements for credit transfers and SEPA direct debits in euro has applied since 31 March 2012.

Its essential contents are:

  • The regulation applies to payments sent by credit transfer and SEPA direct debit inside the European Union and the European Economic Area in the euro currency. The regulation refers to mass payment transactions in euro. The regulation does not include, among other things, express credit transfers, cheques, exchange, card payments, payments over large amount systems or payments in other currencies.
  • Accordingly, credit transfers and SEPA direct debits in euro inside of the EU and the EEA may only be executed in compliance with the regulations set forth in the regulation. This means, among other things, the mandatory use of IBAN as an account identification as well as ISO-20022 format for electronic commissioning.
  • Mandates of existing authorised withdrawals and direct debit orders may be migrated to a SEPA direct debit mandate.
  • With SEPA direct debits, consumers are granted the right to block their account for direct debits of certain creditors, to permit only certain creditors or automatically to reject payments in accordance with defined criteria.
  • Already with the previously enacted "EU Price Regulation" (EU Regulation 924/2009), the limit of EUR 50,000 was abolished.
     
Advantages from SEPA
  • Increased transparency and customer friendliness
  • Quicker execution by uniform rules
  • Creating the possibility of SEPA direct debits and withdrawals in 36 European countries
  • If unable to execute, strict rules for returning or reprocessing the payment
  • Guaranteed execution deadlines, thus better liquidity planning
  • For SEPA direct debits B2B, still quicker execution and securing the finality of the payment
  • Increased security based on the most up-to-date technical standards (ISO 20022)

Since SEPA advantages take various forms depending on the company, we are glad to advise you about optimising and/or the timing of your individual SEPA implementation strategies.
 

SEPA Credit Transfer
  • Transfer currency is the euro
  • Scope inside the EEA, technically possibly also with Switzerland and Monaco
  • Newly regulated data fields in XML format (e.g., payment reference, purpose with uniform lengths of 140 characters)
  • Standardised processing by uniform formats for national and international payments
  • New payment receipt (credit transfer) with IBAN (and BIC)
  • Division of fees ("SHA") - initiator and beneficiary bear their own costs
  • Guaranteed execution time: 1 bank work day to reach the beneficiary's bank
    (for credit transfer orders issued in paper form: maximum of two bank work days)
SEPA Direct Debit Core

This procedure is available both for consumers and non-consumers.

Overview

  • Amount to be withdrawn in euro
  • Domestic and cross-border scope inside the EEA, technically optional also with Switzerland and Monaco
  • Extended data structure for submissions and returns (CID creditor identification, mandate data)
  • Standardised time period from submission until charge (up to the specified due date) of the debtor
  •  Due date information: on the due date, both the debtor's account is charged and the creditor's account is credited
  • Clearly defined processes, deadlines and formal requirements applicable Europe-wide
  • Uniform processing when returning SEPA direct debits
  • Legal certainty by the Payment Services Directive II (PSD II) - implemented in Austria by the ZaDiG 2018

The prerequisite (for consumers and non-consumers) for the execution of a SEPA direct debit is that a SEPA direct debit mandate is agreed between the creditor and the debtor. The contents of this SEPA direct debit mandate are uniformly agreed throughout Europe and form part of the agreement with the creditor. See the sample in the download area.

The creditor must archive the SEPA direct debit mandates and transmit the contents electronically with each SEPA direct debit. Information on credit institutions participating in the SEPA direct debit scheme can be found on the website of the European Payments Council.
 

SEPA Direct Debit B2B

This procedure can be used only for SEPA direct debits between two contractual partners neither of whom are consumers.

Overview

  • Amount to be withdrawn in euro
  • Domestic and cross-border scope inside the EEA, technically optional also with Switzerland and Monaco
  • Bank details are to be stated without exception in the form of IBAN (and BIC), whereby the following applies with regard to BIC: For domestic payment transactions, use of the BIC for SEPA Credit Transfer is optional; for cross-border payments inside the SEPA area, the BIC is obligatory until 01/ 02/ 2016, thereafter it is optional
  • Extended data structure for submissions and returns (CID creditor identification, mandate data)
  • Standardised time period from submission until charge (up to the specified due date) of the debtor
  • Due date information: on the due date, both the debtor's account is charged and the creditor's account is credited
  • Shorter processing times, final payment guaranteed (no return possible at customer’s request)
  • Clearly defined processes, deadlines and formal requirements applicable Europe-wide
  • Legal certainty by the Payment Services Directive II (PSD II) - implemented in Austria by the ZaDiG 2018

The prerequisite for the execution of a SEPA direct debit B2B is that a SEPA direct debit mandate B2B is agreed between the creditor and the debtor. The contents of this SEPA direct debit mandate B2B are uniformly agreed throughout Europe and form part of the agreement with the creditor. See the sample in the download area.
The debtor is required to announce to his financial institution the mandate data (creditor ID, mandate reference) in a timely manner prior to executing the SEPA direct debit B2B. The creditor must archive the SEPA direct debit mandates B2B and transmit the contents electronically with each SEPA direct debit B2B.

Information on credit institutions participating in the SEPA direct debit scheme can be found on the website of the European Payments Council. Please definitely take note of the availability of the financial institution with regard to the specific product SEPA Direct Debit B2B.
 

SEPA Direct Debit - Creditor Identification (CID)

Creditor Identification is a part of EU-wide SEPA standardisation. Since there has previously been no similar national identification, this was introduced in consultation with the Austrian financial institutions by OeNB, which also holds the main version (at a charge) and management of the CID.

The Creditor Identification is an absolutely necessary component of the "Customer Agreement on Submitting SEPA Direct Debits". For submitters who do not have a CID, an application for a CID can be made to Bank Austria. Other information can be found on the website of the Austrian National Bank.
 

SEPA salary and pension payments

Would you like your employees to be paid on the same day, no matter where they do their banking? And you would like to do this with only one single booking? We offer the opportunity for this.
The special service of Bank Austria for SEPA salary and pension payments supports you with same-day crediting.
Advantages:

  • Salaries are credited to all your employees on the same day, completely irrespective of whether the creditor has an account at Bank Austria or at another financial institution in the SEPA zone.
  • You no longer have to split your payment orders and send them separately.
  • The payment order can be submitted already 14 days in advance for a specific execution day. We will ensure that creditors at different banks and at Bank Austria receive payments on the same date.
  • The initiator's account is charged the same value as that of the creditor's account. For payments to other banks, you thus gain a whole day on the value date.
FAQ

To what degree does the introduction of the SEPA euro payment transactions affect new EU countries?
Basically all EU Member States who have introduced the euro as the national currency are affected. The other Member States of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) can participate in the process of the SEPA euro payment transactions only in a limited way (only for euro payments).

Are local forms of payment converted for exchange or cheques?
Local document-based payment transactions for exchange and cheques are not affected by SEPA.

How does SEPA benefit my company?

  • Uniform payment transactions instruments for all transactions inside EU and EEA countries.
  • Potential for rationalisation by a Europe-wide uniform SEPA direct debit procedure.
  • On the basis of uniform data set formats, SEPA makes it possible to process all domestic and European payments, irrespective of the financial institution and the destination.
  • Improvement of liquidity control by introducing a due date with SEPA direct debits.
  • Possibility of streamlining EUR bank accounts structure

Are there new payment transaction forms for SEPA?
New forms for document-based commissioning of SEPA payments are available at Austrian financial institutions. The PAYMENT INSTRUCTION replaces the existing payment forms, payment slips and credit transfers based on an account number and a bank sorting code.

With the credit transfer, document-based euro credit transfers can be commissioned from Austrian accounts to domestic destinations by specifying the IBAN, or to all other European countries of the SEPA zone (incl. Monaco and Switzerland) by specifying the additional information of the BIC.

At the end of the national payment transaction procedure, receipts used in Austria (payment form, payment slip, credit transfer) with a bank sorting code and account number become invalid. This means: Payment transaction orders are then accepted by Austrian financial institutions exclusively with the form "credit transfer" (IBAN information).

In the interest of a quick and smooth switch over, we recommend that our company customers who use payment slips switch over to the new forms as quickly as possible.

Are electronic account statements adjusted as a part of SEPA?
The electronic account information is also available in a SEPA-compliant XML format (camt.52, camt.53, camt.54). The old formats (MT940, MT942, CREMUL, DEBMUL) will continue to exist parallel to them.

Can I still pick up / deliver my payments in EDIFACT format?
Until further notice, payments may still be delivered in the EDIFACT format. Until that time, there will be a gradual transition to the SEPA format. From the time of the SEPA Migration End Date, credit transfers and direct debits in euro inside the EEA must be delivered in the new SEPA-compliant formats.

Does the payment date change for incoming SEPA transactions?
Currently nothing changes about the payment date from processing/delivering via SEPA.

What is the difference between ZaDiG 2018, PSDII and SEPA?
ZaDiG 2018 (Payment Services Act 2018) is the implementation of the Payment Services Directive into Austrian law. Payment Service Directive II (PSD II) is the EU Directive for the uniform payment transaction zone with the goal of creating a uniform set of regulations for all providers and users of payment transaction services. SEPA stands for Single European Payment Area and it describes the uniform payment transaction area to which uniform processing applies. PSD II and ZaDiG 2018 constitute the new standard in payment transaction law in Europe and in Austria.

Glossary

Acquirer
An acquirer is a provider in the (credit) card business who concludes a contract on acceptance of card payments with a dealer.

AOS, Additional Optional Services
Additional services that can be offered in connection with the bank's SEPA products

APC, Austrian Payments Council
The Austrian Payments Council is the Austrian counterpart to the European Payments Council (EPC). In the APC, international requirements are examined and analysed to find a common position on the issues in EPC and to prepare a coordinated implementation.

Foreign Payment Transactions
Foreign payment transaction

BIC
Bank Identifier Code. The BIC is an 8- or 11-digit alphanumeric key that identifies a bank or bank branch.

CID
Creditor Identification, Creditor ID The Creditor ID is an 18-digit alphanumeric key that identifies the entity submitting the SEPA direct debits.

EBA, Euro Banking Association
The EBA operates a clearing and settlement mechanism under the designation STEP2 for processing inter-European credit transfers.

EDIFACT, Electronic Data Interchange For Administration Commerce And Transport
EDIFACT is a cross-sector, international standard for the format of electronic data in business transactions.

EMV Standard, EuroCard/MasterCard/VISA Standard
The EMV Standard is a norm created by MasterCard and VISA to simplify the technical standard for chip cards and the payment processing associated with them.

EPC, European Payments Council
Work platform of 42 European banks, including European financial institution associations as well as several payment transaction service providers (EBA).

ESCB, European System of Central Banks
Currency authorities that consist of the European Central Bank and the central banks of all EU Member States. Thus, the central banks of any country that did not introduce the euro at the beginning of the third stage of the economic and monetary union belong to the ESCB.

European Commission
The EU Commission is the political driving force of Community policies and it works on bills for Directives, Regulations, and other Community legislation. It has a monopoly on initiating legislation. It controls compliance with Community law and represents the interests of the Community to national organisations and third countries.

EU, European Union - Member States
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom

European countries
Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Cyprus. 

EEA, European Economic Area - Member States
In addition to the EU Member States: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

EMU, European Economic and Monetary Union
The EMU is an essential component of the European Union. Among other things, it made it possible to introduce the euro. All EU countries belong to the EMU.

ECB, European Central Bank
Founded on 1 June 1998 as the successor institution of the European Monetary Institution, the European Central Bank with headquarters in Frankfurt lays out the common currency and monetary policy in the euro currency zone in the third stage of the economic and monetary union. The ECB forms the Euro-system together with the national central banks of each of the Member States that have taken up the Euro.

IBAN, International Bank Account Number
Globally standardised, unambiguous information of an account relationship (ISO Norm). It generally consists of a country code, a bank code (bank sorting code), an account number and a check digit.

Domestic Payment Transaction
Domestic payment transactions

Mandate
Mandate basically means an order or an authorisation, which nonetheless contains no exact instruction.

Mandate reference
Mandate reference is an unambiguous reference number that is individually assigned by the creditor and consists of up to 35 alphanumeric digits.

PACS, Payments Clearing & Settlement
UNIFI (ISO 20022) formats for processing SEPA payment transactions between banks (inter-bank format).

PAIN, Payments Standards-Initiation
UNIFI (ISO 20022) Types of messages for the customer-bank relationship.

PSD, Payment Services Directive
Payment Services Directive is the directive for the uniform European legal framework for payment transactions.

PSD, Payment Services Directive II
Payment Service Directive II is the EU Directive for the uniform payment transaction area with the goal of creating a uniform set of regulations for all providers and users of payment transaction services.

SEPA, Single Euro Payments Area
Uniform euro payment transactions area

SEPA Member States
Member States of the EU and the EEA as well as Switzerland, Monaco and San Marino.

SC, SEPA Cards
SEPA card payments

SCT, SEPA Credit Transfer
SEPA credit transfers

SDD, SEPA Direct Debit
SEPA direct debits

STP, Straight Through Processing
Direct data processing, fully automatic processing of transactions.

SWIFT, Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication
International professional association of financial institutions that maintains a telecommunication network (SWIFT network) for exchanging messages between them. This professional association forwards financial transactions between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other financial institutions.

UNIFI (ISO20022), Universal Financial Industry message scheme
Under the designation UNIFI (ISO 20022), the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) published a library of new types of messages for the loan business on the basis of XML syntax. These types of messages are to replace the current MT formats (message types (MT)) that are used in the SWIFT community. UNIFI formats are also designated as MX formats.

XML - Format, Extensible Markup Language
XML is a computer language for the exchange of data. By standardisation, formats for transmitting payment transaction data are defined in this language.

ZaDiG 2018, Payment Services Act 2018
ZaDiG 2018 (Payment Services Act) is the implementation of the Payment Services Directive into Austrian law.
 

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