The European Payments Council
The purpose of the European Payments Council (EPC), representing payment service providers (PSPs), is to support and promote European payments integration and development, notably the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). The EPC is committed to contributing to safe, reliable, efficient, convenient, economically balanced and sustainable payments, which meet the needs of payment service users and support the goals of competitiveness and innovation in an integrated European economy.
The EPC pursues this purpose through the development and management of pan-European payment schemes and the formulation of positions and proposals on European payment issues in constant dialogue with other stakeholders and regulators at the European level and taking a strategic and holistic perspective. The EPC offers one focal point and voice for the PSPs’ sector on all European payment issues, driven by a single vision.
The EPC is an international not-for-profit association which makes all of its deliverables, including the SEPA Scheme Rulebooks and adjacent documentation, available to download free of charge on the EPC Website. The EPC does not supply technology, goods or services.
For more information, refer to the following sources:
- EPC Newsletter: European Payments Council 2.0: with SEPA Migration (Euro Area) Complete, the EPC Adapts its Structure to Further Enhance Governance and Stakeholder Involvement.
- EPC Website: EPC Organisational Chart.
- EPC Website: Role of the EPC in the SEPA Process.
- EPC Website: 'SEPA at a Glance: the Infographic’. This infographic provides a timeline highlighting key milestones of SEPA roll-out and an overview of the actors involved in the SEPA process at the European level and their interaction.
SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit Scheme Management
The primary task of the EPC is to manage the SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) Schemes. The EPC develops the SEPA payment schemes, based on global technical standards made available by international standards bodies, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), in close dialogue with all stakeholders. The SEPA payment schemes, as defined in the SCT and SDD Rulebooks, contain sets of rules and standards for the execution of SEPA payment transactions that have to be followed by scheme participants, i.e. PSPs that have formally adhered to the schemes. These rulebooks can be regarded as instruction manuals which provide a common understanding on how to move funds between payment accounts within SEPA. The SEPA payment schemes developed by the EPC have open access criteria in line with Article 28 of the European Union (EU) Payment Services Directive (Directive 2007/64/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2007 on payment services in the internal market).
To learn more about SCT and SDD, refer to the following dedicated pages on the EPC Website:
- What is a Payment Scheme?
- SEPA Scheme Management.
- SCT / SDD Rulebook Release Management and Scheme Development.
- SEPA Credit Transfer.
- SEPA Direct Debit.
The particular payment products and services - based on a particular payment scheme - offered to the customer are developed by individual PSPs operating in a competitive environment. The development of payment products based on the SEPA payment schemes including all product-related features is outside the scope of the EPC.
The EPC, (which is not part of the EU institutional framework), carries out the scheme management function subject to legal and regulatory conditions defined by the EU authorities. For more information on the role of the European Commission and the European Central Bank with regard to the evolution and oversight of the SCT and SDD Schemes, refer to the information box at the foot of this page.
Dialogue with stakeholders
The EPC invites all stakeholders to take advantage of the numerous communication and consultation platforms (see link 'EPC Consultations' below) offered by the EPC. The EPC Website, the EPC Newsletter and EPC social media platforms (EPC Blog, EPC on LinkedIn, EPC on Twitter) make available comprehensive, regular and timely information on all EPC activities and are designed to encourage stakeholders to directly engage with the EPC.