Issue 1 - January 2009
SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) & SEPA Direct Debit (SDD)
Keep up the good WorkBanks offering SCT services: you in particular want to read this article
22.01.09 By Andrew Bolton
On 28 January 2008, the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme (SCT) was launched. At the time, more than 4200 banks had adhered to the SCT Scheme. The number of Scheme Participants currently stands at 4387 representing about 95 percent of credit transfer volume in SEPA. From an operational point of view, the general feedback from all parties involved testifies to a smooth introduction of the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme. To further assist banks, the EPC has made available a document clarifying particular rules to be observed when offering SCT services. As of 2 February 2009, Scheme Participants are ready to offer additional SCT features based on the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme Rulebook version 3.2. This article also informs on the adherence process to the SEPA Direct Debit Schemes currently being developed. Last but not least, Scheme Participants are reminded of their responsibility to ensure that the information pertaining to individual banks included in the publicly available EPC Register of Participants is accurate and up-to-date.***
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Due to effective trouble-shooting, the limited number of teething problems that materialised upon the SEPA-wide introduction of a new payment scheme were speedily resolved. The EPC document "Clarifications on SCT Implementation Issues," allows Participants to verify their procedures regarding the rules on exception handling (refunds, returns and rejects) and the correct use of BICs under the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme. The goal in publishing this document is that each and every Participant should ensure that it complies fully with the SCT Rulebook including the clarifications specified. Any participating bank that has not yet carried out this simple check of its own procedures against the "Clarifications on SCT Implementation Issues" is urged to do so now. Please see also the latest EPC Open Letter to Scheme Participants.
Clarification on SCT Rules
It is also worth reminding all Participants of the following provisions in the SCT Rulebook:
- Section 2.2 of the Rulebook states: "A SEPA Credit Transfer is a payment instrument for the execution of credit transfers in euro between customer payments accounts located in SEPA. The SEPA Credit Transfer is executed on behalf of an Originator holding a payment account with an Originator Bank in favor of a Beneficiary holding a payment account at a Beneficiary Bank." It has recently been brought to the attention of the EPC that there are cases where the above is not being respected, and so called "one-leg-out" transactions are being made in SCT, where either the Originator or Beneficiary is located outside of SEPA. An Open Letter to all Participants is being issued, calling for Participants to ensure that they do not make such payments as SCT payments.
- Section 5.8, bullet point 9 of the Rulebook states: "In respect of each of its Beneficiaries, a Beneficiary Bank shall credit the account of the Beneficiary with the full amount of the payment in accordance with the time cycle defined in Chapter 4, or for a lesser amount subject to any agreement with the Beneficiary under which the Beneficiary Bank may deduct its own fees from the amount transferred before crediting the Beneficiary's account." In various instances, payers/bank customers stated that the original amount sent was not delivered in full to the Beneficiary account, but that the Beneficiary Bank deducted fees from the amount. It is entirely possible under the Rulebook for such deductions to be made, subject, however, to prior agreement between Beneficiary and Beneficiary Bank.
SEPA Credit Transfer Rulebook version 3.2 to take effect on 2 February 2009
Version 3.2 of the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme Rulebook will take effect on 2 February 2009. The EPC reiterates that only one version of the Rulebook is in effect at any given point in time. The cutover on 2 February 2009 of the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme Rulebook version 2.3 to version 3.2 is clarified as follows:
- For all interbank settlements with effect of 2 February 2009, SEPA Credit Transfer transactions must be compliant with the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme Rulebook version 3.2.
- Clearing and Settlement Mechanisms (CSMs) working with a lead time (e.g. "D-1") must also be compliant with the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme Rulebook version 3.2 for 2 February 2009 SCT settlement (i.e. from 29 January 2009 if a CSM works on a "D-1" basis).
- All SCT returns submitted to CSMs for settlement with effect of 2 February 2009 must be compliant with the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme Rulebook version 3.2.
The goal is to ensure that the banking industry works with a single Rulebook version throughout SEPA.
Adherence Guide to the SEPA Direct Debit Schemes is being developed
The introduction of the SEPA Direct Debit Schemes (SDD) requires a uniform EU-wide legal framework as defined in the EU Payment Services Directive (PSD). The general SEPA-wide launch date for the SEPA Direct Debit Schemes has been set in principle by the EPC for November 2009. This launch date coincides with the deadline for all EU member states to have adopted the PSD into national law. The EPC is currently developing the guide for adherence to the SEPA Direct Debit Schemes which is planned to be published in the spring of 2009.
As part of the SDD adherence preparations, EPC is looking to build on the current Register of Participants to cater for SDD. Each SCT Participant should recall that it is singly responsible for the accuracy of the information published by EPC in the SCT Register of Participants for that Participant. We hereby ask you to check that the Register of Participants accurately reflects today the Name and Reference BIC of your bank, and to send by e-mail to the EPC Secretariat any necessary update to amend any outdated information.
Scheme Participants: Explore this newsletter!
Last but not least, we would like to draw your attention to all other articles in this newsletter providing additional information of interest to Scheme Participants.
Andrew Bolton is a staff member at the EPC Secretariat.
Other articles in this issue
22.01.09 Update EPC Plenary Meetings - Main decisions taken in December 2008 By Herman Segers 22.01.09 SEPA Schemes: EPC approves Release Schedule - Predictable release cycle ensures planning security By Herman Segers 22.01.09 New EPC Publications available - Everything you always wanted to know about SEPA By Meral Ruesing 22.01.09 SEPA for Cards: From Vision to Reality - EPC takes forward its Cards Standardisation Programme By Francis Geets 22.01.09 Less is more: one Standard for Customer-to-Bank Communication - EPC approves updated Implementation Guidelines for the initiation of SEPA payments By Bettina Schönfeld, Esther Uyehara and Ingo Beyritz 22.01.09 The SEPA Highway for E-Payments*** - Make electronic payments from your current account across 32 countries By John Holsberg 22.01.09 Seeking common Ground - EPC advocates consistent implementation of the Payment Services Directive (PSD) By Ruth Wandhöfer 22.01.09 New Rules on cross-border Payments - Outlook on the revision of EU Regulation 2560/2001 By Séverine Anciberro 22.01.09 Cheer up: SEPA is on Track and open for Business - Market uptake is in line with roll-out of any major EU integration initiative By Herman Segers 22.01.09 Financial Crisis - SEPA can be part of the solution By Charlie McCreevy 22.01.09 Facing the Facts - The EPC Newsletter tracks SEPA progress By Herman Segers 22.01.09 Bring the Prophet to the Mountain - How to convince corporate customers of the benefits SEPA holds for them By Gerard Hartsink 22.01.09 Tomorrow is another Day - SEPA Survey 2008: corporate community lacks sense of SEPA urgency By Taco de Vries and Eddy Ouwendijk 22.01.09 Ready, willing and able? - The corporate View on SEPA Implementation An interview with Olivier Brissaud 22.01.09 SEPA goes mobile - EPC enables SEPA payments across 32 countries via a cell phone By Dag-Inge Flatraaker 22.01.09 Secure and convenient: the E-Mandate Solution - The SEPA Core Direct Debit Scheme now features electronic authorisation of payments By John Holsberg 22.01.09 The SEPA Direct Debit Mandate - you will just love it - EPC provides guidance on the creation of easy-to-use SEPA mandate forms By Meral Ruesing 22.01.09 New SCT Features meet key corporate Requirements - Updated SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme Rulebook goes live in February 2009 By Christian Westerhaus
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