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The Doors are open

Guidelines for adherence to the SEPA Direct Debit Schemes are now available

20 April 12

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Separate adherence packs must be submitted for adherence to the Scheme and for adherence to the Scheme

The process for adherence to the Direct Debit Schemes follows the principles established for adherence to the Credit Transfer Scheme, e.g. applicants will submit an Adherence Agreement, a Schedule to the Adherence Agreement and a Legal Opinion either to the relevant National Adherence Support Organisation (NASO) or, if applicant has four or more subsidiaries in four or more jurisdictions, directly to the Secretariat. Complete applications are submitted to the Scheme Management Committee (SMC) for approval.

Prior to embarking on the SDD adherence process, it is strongly recommended that all applicants fully familiarise themselves with all application documentation prior to completing each document for processing as described in the Guide to the Adherence Process for the Core Direct Debit Scheme and for the B2B Direct Debit Scheme (the SDD Adherence Guide). Guidance on completing the adherence documents should in the first instance be obtained from the relevant NASO.

Links to all relevant documents and the list of NASOs are provided below.

A separate adherence pack for non credit institutions seeking to adhere to the SEPA Direct Debit Schemes will be available shortly.

The Adherence Agreement

Applicants should ensure not to amend or otherwise alter the text of the pro-forma Adherence Agreement, except as required by the provisions of the Adherence Agreement itself. Any improper amendments or alterations of the text of the Adherence Agreement may result in an application being delayed or rejected. The FAQ section (Annex C) in the SDD Adherence Guide gives detailed information with regard to the Adherence Agreement.

The Schedule to the Adherence Agreement

With the Schedule to the Adherence Agreement the Applicant provides the following information: name of the Participant, address of its registered office, reference BIC, readiness date, details of contact point (for communication with the , a generic e-mail must be supplied here, e.g. sepa@bank.com) and e-mail and phone number of contact person handling Applicant's adherence pack in-house.

The will publish a Register of Participants for the Scheme and a separate Register of Participants for the Scheme, respectively. The Registers will be published once prior to the November 2009 launch. The SDD Participant Registers will contain a record for each Participant and will include the following information provided in the Schedule:

  • The name of the Participant
  • Address of its registered office
  • Reference BIC
  • Readiness Date - this is the date determined by the Applicant on which it deems itself ready and able to receive and process collections. This must be no earlier than 2 November 2009.

An organisation adhering to one or both of the Direct Debit Schemes which is already a participant in the Credit Transfer Scheme must ensure that the Schedule information supplied when adhering to the SDD Scheme(s) is the same that is published in the Participant Register. If an Participant submits an application pack for adherence to an SDD Scheme featuring different Schedule information, the related information in the Participant Register will be overwritten.

It is strongly recommended that the Schedule information be provided in an excel file. Alternatively, the Schedule information may be provided in a Word document. Links to the Schedule templates are provided below.

The reference BIC provided by Applicants as part of the Schedule information

The reference BIC is a BIC 8 or BIC 11 selected by and applicable to the Participant (one reference BIC per applicant).

Organisations adhering to more than one Scheme are requested to always include the same reference BIC with each application. As such, organisations which are already Participants in the Credit Transfer Scheme must provide the same reference BIC listed on their behalf in the Participant Register when adhering to one or both of the SDD Schemes.

The Registers of Participants list adhering banks with their individual BIC8 or BIC11. They do not list branches of banks in . Branches of a Participant are generally covered by the BIC8 of the head office. The Registers of Participants do list adhering branches in of non- banks. The Registers of Participants do list adhering subsidiaries.

The Registers of Participants are not an operational database and do not contain a comprehensive list of BICs used for routing payments. The Registers of Participants are not designed for routing payments. In the Registers of Participants BIC 8 or BIC11 are used by as a means of identifying unambiguously the Participant organisation.

A Scheme Participant must ensure that the correct BIC8s or BIC11s are registered in the directories of the Clearing and Settlement Mechanisms (the "CSMs"). Each CSM has in place a directory with the BIC of its participants that is used by participants in order to check if the BIC provided by a customer or derived from IBAN refers to a participant reachable by that CSM. Any CSM defines internally the rules in order to register its participants and to correctly check the routing.

The Legal Opinion

Applicants should ensure not to amend or otherwise alter the text of the pro-forma Legal Opinion, except as required by the provisions of the Legal Opinion itself.

The Legal Opinion must be completed and signed by either internal or external legal counsel for the Applicant. This means that the Legal Opinion must be completed and signed by a qualified lawyer who is qualified to practise under the laws of the jurisdiction that the Legal Opinion covers. It is essential that the Legal Opinion be completed and signed by qualified legal counsel. Signatures of senior members of the Applicant's organisation who are not qualified lawyers will not be accepted. The FAQ section (Annex C, questions 25 - 30) in the SDD Adherence Guide gives detailed information as to the meaning of the term "qualified lawyer".

It is also very important that the Legal Opinion is not dated earlier than the Adherence Agreement as the Legal Opinion de facto and de jure confirms that the Adherence Agreement was properly executed.

Contractual obligations of Scheme Participants: SDD Rulebook release management 2009

It is important to note that chapter 5, which defines the eligibility criteria for participation in the Schemes, and the Scheme Management Internal Rules must necessarily be identical in all Scheme Rulebooks. Possible changes to chapter 5 and to the Internal Rules in the Credit Transfer Rulebook can only be decided upon in September 2009 as stipulated by the binding timelines of the formal change management process to which the Rulebook is already subject. As a result, it will be necessary to align the Core Direct Debit Scheme Rulebook and the Business to Business Direct Debit Scheme Rulebook accordingly - in September 2009.

Scheme Participants will therefore be contractually bound by the provisions of the Rulebook version 3.4 as approved by the September 2009 Plenary and published on the website immediately afterwards. The Rulebook version 3.4 shall become effective on the Commencement Date (2 November 2009). The changes to be made to the current Rulebook (version 3.3) are restricted to chapter 5 and to the Internal Rules. These changes will not have any operational impact on the scheme and are detailed already in Annex IX of the Rulebook version 3.3. This Annex IX is provided below.

With regard to the Rulebook: the will publish the B2B Direct Debit Scheme Rulebook version 1.2 which will form the basis for first implementation on its website following approval by the Plenary on 24 June 2009. Scheme Participants will be contractually bound by the provisions of the Rulebook version 1.3 as approved by the September 2009 Plenary and published on the website immediately afterwards. The Rulebook version 1.3 shall become effective on the Commencement Date (2 November 2009). The changes to be made to the Rulebook in September 2009 are restricted to chapter 5 and to the Internal Rules. These changes will not have any operational impact on the Scheme.

Communication with the Secretariat with regard to the SDD Adherence Process

All queries should be directed to sdd@europeanpaymentscouncil.. In all e-mails submitted to the Secretariat as part of the adherence process, the e-mail subject should be set to be

'{Applicant Name} - {Country Code} - {Core OR B2B} adherence'

The pre-launch timeline for adherence to the Direct Debit Schemes

The Secretariat starts processing applications for participation in the Scheme on 1 May 2009 and for participation in the Scheme on 13 July 2009. Deadline for receipt of any applications in readiness of the 2 November 2009 launch date is 4 September 2009.

On 3 November 2009, the Secretariat re-opens the process for applications and publishes updated Registers of Participants to take effect on the first working day of each month, starting January 2010.

Gerhard Singer is a member of the Scheme Management Committee (SMC) and the Chair of the Direct Debit Adherence Task Force.

 

Related Links

Here you can find all the documents necessary for adhering to the Core Direct Debit Scheme, including the list of NASOs: click to follow link

Here you can find all the documents necessary for adhering to the B2B Direct Debit Scheme, including the list of NASOs: click to follow link

Here you can learn about the role of the Scheme Management Committee (SMC): click to follow link



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