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What Happened with SEPA ?


With the SEPA Direct Debit scheme being introduced as I write, the lack of momentum with regards to SEPA adoption is of significant concern, particularly to the European Commission. What needs to be done to increase the uptake of SEPA instruments ?



The political drive towards harmonisation across the eurozone, embodied in the Lisbon Agenda, pushed the European banks to create the single euro payments area (SEPA) project, which began as a self-regulation initiative to head off enforced legislation coming from Brussels.

In line with the harmonisation concept, SEPA aims to make payments more efficient with greater straight-through processing (STP) and standardisation - and ultimately cheaper for users through the elimination of the distinction between cross-border and domestic payments within the union. For corporates, increased standardisation will facilitate the harmonisation of internal processes and thus lead to cost savings and improved liquidity and cash management.

The project has been rolled out in two stages: on 2 November, the SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) scheme will launch; this was preceded by the launch of the SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and the SEPA Cards Framework (SCF) in January 2008. But as of July this year, 18 months after the SCT scheme was introduced, only 4.4% of all credit transfers used SEPA standards. Today, the number still stands at just under 5%. A colleague from a Finnish bank estimated that, at this rate, it would be 2050 before Europe has completely migrated to SEPA. It is also worthwhile to mention that, to date, almost all SEPA volume is used for cross-border payments, with only a fraction being used for domestic payments.

This article’s headline is derived from the realisation that the SEPA project hasn’t started to walk yet, let alone run - or, as summed up in a session at the recent Sibos conference, “it hasn’t reached cruising altitude”. Even the European Commission (EC) seems disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm around SEPA.

The public sector, in particular, has been slow to implement SEPA instruments, despite the fact that the EC seemed to be counting on this sector to act as a trailblazer. With nearly 50% of EU gross domestic product (GDP) and around 20% of all cashless payments, the public sector has not played the leading role it should. (...)

Written by CFO World
vendredi, 06 novembre 2009
Source :
www.gtnews.com/article/7809.cfm

Dimanche 15 Novembre 2009
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