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single Euro payments area (SEPA)

Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is the single euro payments area. In this payment area, there are no longer any distinctions between national and cross-border or domestic and foreign payments. All types of payments are treated the same, whether transfers, direct debits, direct debits or card payments, all are treated in the same way as domestic payments used to be.

On SEPA credit transfers, the international bank account number (IBAN) will be used as the account number and the bank identifier code (BIC) will replace the bank code (BLZ).

SEPA credit transfer format, Bundesbank sample

SEPA credit transfer format, Bundesbank sample

Since SEPA came into force on 1.1.2008, there has only been the SEPA area. The German legislator passed a regulation requiring the abolition of national payment procedures with the international bank account number (IBAN) and the BIC code in favour of SEPA payments from February 2014. The standardised credit transfers and direct debits will standardise payment transactions throughout Europe. The SEPA data format is based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML), which ensures interoperability of payment transactions.

In total, the SEPA area comprises 32 countries, including all EU states with the countries of the Eurozone, the three member states of the European Economic Area (EEA) with Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway, and also Switzerland.

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Englisch: single Euro payments area - SEPA
Updated at: 20.10.2013
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