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ECB calls for Sepa deadline extension

 

If you read our December 2010 post about Sepa migration deadlines

we think you'll be again very interested in new details on this theme, announced on Finextra:

The European Central Bank is calling for an extension to the mandatory end-dates proposed by the European Commission for the enforced introduction of new payments instruments under the Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) project.

See the news on Finextra (8 April 2011) or read it here:

In December, the European Commission proposed an end-2012 timeline for the banking industry to move to new EU-wide credit transfers and direct debits.

The ECB - which had initially been calling for an end-2012 date for SCTs and a shift to SDDs taking place the following year - has now revised its opinion, with the call for an extended timetable buried in amendments in its formal response to the European Commission's December paper.

Says the central bank: "Taking into consideration the payment industry's need for sufficiently long lead times, the ECB suggests setting concrete dates, which could preferably be at the end of January 2013 for credit transfers and the end of January 2014 for direct debits."

Despite this, the ECB remains supportive of the European Commission's push for binding regulation: "A Union act of general application, binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States, is...considered essential for successful migration to Sepa, as the project would otherwise face a serious risk of failure."

The central bank is also calling on Brussels to provide clear guidance on the regulation of interchange fees for debit card transactions.

In 2009, the Commission introduced a temporary default interchange fee for cross-border direct debits, together with a temporary endorsement of national interchange fees for direct debits. "Both of these Articles will no longer apply on 1 November 2012," notes the ECB. "In order to avoid a legal vacuum hampering migration to Sepa direct debit, it is important that a long-term solution for interchange fees for direct debits is established."

EC sets Sepa migration deadlines

 

 

If you read our June 2010 post about Sepa migration deadlines

Just a week after the EC and ECB hosted the first meeting of the Sepa Council… you'll be very interested in new details as we have fresh news on Finextra:
The European Commission has finally set out its proposals for EU-wide end-dates for the migration of national credit transfers and direct debits to Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) instruments.

 

See the news on Finextra (16 December 2010) or read it here:

The move means that, once the regulation comes into force, national credit transfers will be replaced by the pan European Sepa SCT within 12 months, with direct debits following after another year.The proposal now passes to the European Parliament and the member states for consideration.The EC says it has moved to enforce the move because self-regulation has failed.

 

According to available European Central Bank data, as of October, only 9.6% of all credit transfers in the euro area were executed using a pan-European payment instrument. If this trend continues, it will take 25 years for the full benefits of the Sepa to be felt.

 

To ensure interoperability, the use of certain common standards and technical requirements such as the use of international bank account numbers (Iban), bank identifier codes (Bic) and a financial services messaging standard (ISO 20022 XML) will be mandatory for all bank account payments in euro in the EU.

 

Internal market and services commissioner Michel Barnier says: "We have a Single Market, many countries share a single currency and soon we will move to a single pan-European payment system in Europe. It means that making payments cross-border will become as easy as making them at home. Consumers will only need one bank account and their payments will be faster, cheaper and safer. Businesses will benefit from one set of standards and much simpler processes. The proposal adopted today fixes end-dates to make this pan-European system a reality, hopefully as early as 2012."

 

The European Central Bank's Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell - who has long called for a deadline - told the Financial Times that she "very much welcomed" the EC proposal.

 

Last month the European Payments Council warned that the EC will "effectively derail the entire Sepa project" if regulatory intervention on migration end dates does not include deadlines for phasing out national schemes.

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