On 26 June 2023, the European Payments Council (EPC) published version 1.1 of the SEPA Payment Account Access (SPAA) scheme rulebook, which replaces with immediate effect version 1.0 (published in November 2022). Version 1.1 of the rulebook will come into effect on 30 November 2023.
The SPAA scheme rulebook, which is created in line with the requirements defined in the June 2021 report of the ERPB Working Group on a SEPA Application Programming Interface (API) Access Scheme, covers the set of rules, practices and standards that will allow the exchange of payment accounts related data (i.e. data assets) and facilitates the initiation of payment transactions (i.e. transaction assets), in the context of ‘value-added’ (‘premium’ ) API-based services provided by asset holders (i.e. Account-Servicing Payment Service Providers (ASPSPs)) to asset brokers (e.g. Third Party Providers (TPPs in a revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) context) such as Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISPs) or Account Information Service Providers (AISP)).
The main changes in version 1.1 of the SPAA scheme rulebook can be summarised as follows:
- Inclusion of extended sections regarding strong customer authentication (SCA), which take into account the outcome of the related public consultation that ended on 15 March 2023.
- Definition of a minimum viable product (MVP) - based on the analysis of market demand - covering a set of Premium Application Programming Interface (API)-based services that an asset holder (participating in the scheme) agrees to offer as a minimum to an asset broker (participating in the scheme). A distinction has been made between MVP#1 and MVP#2, which is inter alia linked to the introduction of different adherence categories for asset holders. For example, MVP#1 is only applicable to ‘category A’ asset holders that only provide data asset related services.
- Updates in relation to a mechanism to request a payment with transaction fees not borne by the payer.
- Dataset and attribute alignments.
- Clarifications on the envisaged homologation process as well as on the default business conditions.
It is envisaged that the scheme will evolve further over time to support more elaborated functionalities, in line with market demand.
The SPAA scheme default business conditions are expected to be published on the EPC website by the end of November 2023 and will cover a set of default asset fees for the ‘premium’ assets exposed by the asset holder to the asset broker as well as default API access fees for the use of the SPAA API itself, as provided by the asset holder.
The SPAA API implementation guidelines which support the scheme operationally will be developed by the relevant European standardisation initiatives in the field of PSD2. Scheme participants are free to select the standardisation initiative of their choice. However, to ensure pan-European harmonisation in the field of the SPAA API implementation, the EPC is envisaged to introduce a homologation process in a future phase to check whether the SPAA API specifications developed by the standardisation initiatives and their implementations comply with the requirements as defined in the rulebook. Such a homologation process should be cost-efficient, ensure a level playing field and not discriminate between early adopters and late entrants.
The SPAA scheme adherence process will be open on 1 September 2023 to allow applicants to prepare their adherence application ahead of the effective date of the SPAA scheme.