The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) project is an initiative of the European banking industry, led by the European Payments Council (EPC). The goal of SEPA is to eliminate differences in the way in which domestic and cross-border transactions for bulk ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments and collections are operated, and to improve efficiencies.
SEPA is seen as the key enabler to achieve broader commercial harmonization within the Eurozone, leading to increased cross-border movement of goods and services.
To achieve this goal, the EPC (European Payment Council) has created the SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and the SEPA Direct Debit (SDD).
Whereas national payment schemes differed considerably before, new technical standards and harmonized formats are now in use, allowing companies and consumers to use the SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) to make euro credit transfers across Europe under the same terms and conditions. A similar simplification has been realized for direct debit payments through the introduction of two SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) instruments - the SEPA Core Direct Debit and the SEPA Business-to-Business Direct Debit. Besides the capability to replace the current domestic legacy direct debit schemes, the SEPA Direct Debit can also be used for cross-border direct debits (within the Eurozone). As such, it was a truly new instrument, since cross-border direct debits did not exist before.
SEPA is meant for the Eurozone. International remittances outside the European Union cannot be handled by using the SEPA products.
We would like to take the opportunity to inform you that in the near future, all companies and clubs will be obliged to convert the customer data from account number and sort code to IBAN and BIC. From February 2014 onwards only IBAN and BIC can be used and must be specified in the orders placed with a bank.
In terms of business, the legislature prohibits banks to offer appropriate conversion services. This means that no transfers and direct debits can be executed if the IBAN and BIC are not part of the customer orders.
IBAN and BIC of your account at SBI Frankfurt can be obtained from the statement of account. Kindly provide these details to your business partners. The best possibility in this regard is to incorporate these details in your official letters sent to your business partners.
We kindly ask you to obtain IBAN and BIC from your business partners as early as possible, to avoid any kind of difficulties from 01.02.2014 onwards. Please keep in mind that banks will not be allowed to process your payment order or direct debits which are not containing valid BIC and IBAN. We will shortly provide information in regard of SEPA on our website (www.statebank-frankfurt.com).
The SEPA Credit Transfer applies to accounts within the EU Member States and differs for the customers of a bank primarily in the data to be used. Instead of the well-known account number and sort code, the new standards IBAN and BIC are to be used.
In contrast to the previously known direct debits in Germany, you have the option to use SEPA direct debit for collecting funds from accounts maintained in other European countries.
SEPA Direct Debit contains the SEPA Core Direct Debit and SEPA B2B "Business to Business" Direct Debit options. The options are described later in this document.
SEPA direct debits must be placed with a bank electronically. No paper based instructions (f.e. by letter) is allowed from 01.02.2014 onwards. Please check your internal procedures and verify whether some modifications are required!
For SEPA direct debits each customer/creditor need a so-called creditor-ID. The creditor-ID is assigned by the Deutsche Bundesbank (Central Bank in Germany) and is the unique identification of the creditor, which is transmitted over the entire transaction chain and used for detecting/identifying the creditor.
The creditor identifier may be requested on the following website of the Deutsche Bundesbank: www.glaeubiger-id.bundesbank.de
The CORE direct debit collection authorization replaces the previously known method, and has the following important differences:
Existing signed debit authorization will remain valid, if they are available to the creditor in original. It is recommended to replace existing debit authorizations (if necessary) by obtaining fresh MANDATE containing all mandatory details and to establish a mandate management as early as possible.
The SEPA B2B Direct Debit is optional and is meant only (if chosen) for corporate customers. The requirements of the SEPA Core Direct Debit must be applied to the SEPA B2B option also.
For SEPA B2B the existing debit authorizations cannot be used! It is mandatory to obtain fresh MANDATES from the business partners. The SEPA B2B Direct Debit cannot be used by consumer.
For SEPA B2B option the debtor has no right of claiming back the funds under the SEPA Direct Debit scheme! The debtor can only get in touch with the business partner and ask the business partner to transfer funds back to his account by originating a fresh payment order (f.e. SEPA Credit Transfer).
A mandate is the written instruction / authorization from the debtor to the creditor to collect money by direct debit from the account of the debtor. The mandate must be retained by the payee.
A mandate must necessarily include the following information:
One significant change is to be noticed: The debtor has to inform his bank that he signed a mandate and that a direct debit is expected.
A Mandate is required for each direct debit. The mandate could also show that the direct debit will be recurring for the same amount on different dates.
The beneficiary/payee must provide error-free data to his bank for each obtained mandate. A mandate has a fixed term. Each mandate expires, if no debit was carried out under the mandate within 36 months.
Since the 01.02.2014 for corporate clients and associations/clubs in regard of SEPA is a must, we want to provide the following guidance, enabling our customer to make out what has to be verified and maybe implemented:
Please do not hesitate to contact us in case of any kind of questions.
Assuring you the best service!
Mainzer Landstrasse 61
60329 Frankfurt am Main