EPC Publishes Updated Versions of the SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Di...

EPC Publishes Updated Versions of the SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit Rulebooks to Take Effect in November 2015

20 November 14

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On 25 November 2014, the European Payments Council () published updated versions of the Credit Transfer () and Direct Debit (SDD) Rulebooks. The Rulebook version 8.0, Rulebook version 8.0 and SDD Business to Business (B2B) Rulebook version 6.0 and associated implementation guidelines will take effect on 22 November 2015. In accordance with industry best practice, payment service providers () and their suppliers have a one-year lead time to address rulebook updates prior to them taking effect.

The Rulebook version 8.0, Rulebook version 8.0 and Rulebook version 6.0 and associated implementation guidelines are available, respectively, on the Website pages entitled ‘2015 Rulebook’ and ‘2015 SDD Rulebooks’ (see ‘related links’ below).

An overview of the changes incorporated into the next generations rulebooks is provided with the Newsletter article, published in October 2014, entitled ‘ and SDD Rulebooks: Modifications to the Rulebooks to Take Effect in November 2015 and November 2016, Respectively’ (see ‘related links’ below).

Recap: the legal nature of the and SDD Rulebooks

The Single Euro Payments Area () payment schemes as defined in the and SDD Rulebooks contain sets of rules and technical standards defined by standards bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for the execution of payment transactions. Simply put, the rulebooks can be regarded as instruction manuals which provide a common understanding among on how to move funds from account A to account B within . Strictly and formally speaking, the rulebooks set out the rights and obligations of all institutions bound by their terms, i.e. the scheme participants, ( that have formally adhered to the schemes), and the . The rulebooks bind each scheme participant “to comply with their obligations to the and to all other scheme participants pursuant to the rules set out therein”. The rulebooks include mandatory elements that must be observed by all scheme participants as well as optional features.

(In this context, it should be recalled that payment products and services offered to the customer are developed by individual operating in the competitive environment. The development of payment products and services, based on the payment schemes, including all product-related features, is outside the scope of the .)

Recap: the scheme change management process provides all stakeholders with the opportunity to participate

The , (which is not part of the European Union (EU) institutional framework), carries out the scheme management function subject to legal and regulatory conditions defined by the EU authorities.

Since the launch of the Scheme in 2008 and the SDD Schemes in 2009, the has generally published updated versions of the rulebooks and associated implementation guidelines once annually in November to take effect in November of the next year. The and SDD Schemes evolve based on a transparent change management process adhered to by the . This evolution reflects changes in market needs and updates of technical standards.

The scheme change management process provides all stakeholders with the opportunity to participate, i.e. to introduce suggestions for changes to the schemes, from an early stage. All interested parties were invited to submit suggestions for changes to be incorporated into the updated versions of the and SDD Rulebooks by 28 February 2014. All suggestions for changes to the rulebooks that were received by that date were consolidated into a single change request document per rulebook (the Rulebook, the Rulebook and the Rulebook). As with previous scheme change cycles, all proposed changes to the schemes were released with the change request documents for a three-month public consultation (this time between May and August 2014).

Proposed changes to the schemes that find broad acceptance in the entire stakeholder community and are technically and legally feasible are taken forward. Proposed changes that lack such broad support are not – regardless of whether such a change is proposed by a or by a user representative. This ensures that the and SDD Schemes evolve in line with the requirements of the majority of all market participants. For details on the scheme change management process, refer to the Website page entitled ‘ / SDD Rulebook Release Management and Scheme Development’ (see ‘related links’ below).

Modifications incorporated into the rulebook versions to take effect in November 2015

Annex III, respectively, of the Rulebook version 8.0, Rulebook version 8.0 and Rulebook version 6.0 lists all changes compared to the previous versions of the rulebooks (i.e. the versions currently in effect).

Main change to be introduced with the Rulebook version 8.0 and the Rulebook version 6.0: updated wording regarding the use of electronic mandates

To give some background: the SDD Schemes allow a creditor (biller) to collect funds from a debtor’s (payer’s) account, provided that a signed mandate has been granted by the debtor to the creditor. A mandate is signed by the debtor to authorise the creditor to collect a payment and to instruct the debtor’s bank to pay those collections. The SDD Rulebooks provide the possibility to issue mandates created through the use of electronic channels – often referred to as electronic mandates. Several of the stakeholders who submitted suggestions for modifications to the SDD Rulebooks indicated that a higher degree of flexibility regarding the use of legacy, as well as future electronic mandate solutions, should be introduced into the SDD Rulebooks.

It is widely recognised that the efficient handling and the acceptance of electronic mandates is a very important element in the context of a successful migration to and for the further development of the and B2B Schemes. In October 2013, the published a clarification letter (see ‘related links’ below), which highlights that the signature methods as described in section 4.1 of the and B2B Rulebooks currently in effect are not exhaustive. SDD scheme participants, (i.e. that have formally adhered to the SDD Schemes), may consider allowing continued usage of other legally binding methods of signature including those that were used under the local legacy scheme rules.

The wording in section 4.1 (‘The Mandate’) in the Rulebook version 8.0 and Rulebook version 6.0 was amended to read as follows: “Alternatively, the mandate may be an electronic document which is signed using a legally binding method of signature.”

The points out that at its first meeting held in May 2014, the Euro Retail Payments Board () – established and chaired by the European Central Bank – identified electronic mandates as a key issue and established a specific working group dedicated to that topic. This working group on pan-European electronic mandate solutions for SDDs – co-chaired by an Ecommerce Europe representative and an representative – started its work in July 2014 and planned a number of activities and meetings in order to produce a report to be submitted to the by December 2014. The looks forward to the discussions at the on the outcome of the work of the working group on pan-European electronic mandate solutions for SDDs. (For more information, refer to the Newsletter article ‘Learn More About Work Items Related to Credit Transfer and Direct Debit Addressed by the New Euro Retail Payments Board () Chaired by the European Central Bank’ included in the ‘related links’ below.)

The Rulebook version 8.0, Rulebook version 8.0 and Rulebook version 6.0 will be further amended during 2015 to include updated Scheme Management Internal Rules (SMIRs). Changes to the SMIRs have no operational impact whatsoever.

The Rulebook version 9.0 and Rulebook version 7.0 will be published in January 2015 to take effect in November 2016

Based on the feedback received during the 2014 public consultation, the resolved to include changes related to the Scheme standard time cycle and the use of sequence types in both SDD Schemes in a further iteration of the SDD Rulebooks, i.e. the Rulebook version 9.0 and Rulebook version 7.0.

Main change to be included with the Rulebook version 9.0: as of the effective date of November 2016 of the Rulebook version 9.0, all collections presented for the first time, on a recurrent basis or as a one-off collection can be presented up to D-1 inter-bank business day (D-1). This change does not impact the creditor as the creditor can continue to use the currently applicable collection presentation timelines after November 2016.

Main change to be included with the Rulebook version 9.0 and Rulebook version 7.0: the current requirement to use the sequence type ‘FRST’ in a first of a recurrent series of collections is no longer mandatory as of the effective date of November 2016 of the Rulebook version 9.0 and Rulebook version 7.0 (i.e. a first collection can be used in the same way as a subsequent collection with the sequence type ‘RCUR’). This change does not impact the creditor side as the creditor can continue to provide the sequence type ‘FRST’ after November 2016 (no reject rule for data element ‘FRST’).

To give stakeholders ample time to implement the main changes related to the standard time cycle and use of sequence types, the Rulebook version 9.0 and Rulebook version 7.0 will be published together with the associated implementation guidelines in January 2015 to take effect in November 2016.

Given that the Rulebook version 9.0 and Rulebook version 7.0 will be published by January 2015, the resolved that there will be no further scheme change cycle in 2015. The Rulebook version 8.0 published in November 2014 will therefore remain effective until November 2017.

The next scheme change management cycle will roll out in 2016 / 2017. This means that the period for stakeholders to submit suggestions for additional changes to the rulebooks is open and will end on 31 December 2015. These suggestions will then be considered with regard to the rulebook versions to be published in 2016 to take effect in 2017.

The greatly appreciates the contributions from all stakeholders participating in the scheme change management process

The is committed to ensuring that the and SDD Schemes continue to evolve in response to market needs. The , therefore, greatly appreciates the contributions from all stakeholders participating in the scheme change management process. The modifications incorporated into the next generations and SDD Rulebooks reflect the feedback received during the 2014 public consultation. The reports detailing the feedback received to the 2014 public consultation are available on these Website pages: ‘ Consultations’ and ‘SDD Consultations’ (see ‘related links’ below).

Related links:

EPC Website: 2015 SCT Rulebook ( Rulebook version 8.0 and associated implementation guidelines)

EPC Website: 2015 SDD Rulebooks ( Rulebook version 8.0, Rulebook version 6.0 and associated implementation guidelines)

EPC Newsletter (October 2014): SCT and SDD Rulebooks: Modifications to the Rulebooks to Take Effect in November 2015 and November 2016, Respectively 

EPC Website: SCT Consultations 

EPC Website: SDD Consultations 

EPC Clarification Letter on Electronic Mandates to SEPA Direct Debit Scheme Participants (October 2013) 

EPC Newsletter (October 2014): Learn More About Work Items Related to SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit Addressed by the New Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB) Chaired by the European Central Bank 

EPC Website: SCT / SDD Rulebook Release Management and Scheme Development 

EPC Blog (September 2014): The New European Commission is Expected to Take Office on 1 November 2014. A Recap of the Role of the European Commission in the Evolution of SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit 

EPC Blog (May 2014): EPC Launches Three-Month Public Consultation on the Evolution of the SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit Schemes. All Stakeholders are Invited to Provide Feedback by 15 August 2014 

EPC Blog (October 2013): Next Generation SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit Rulebooks Will be Published in November 2014 to Take Effect in November 2015. EPC Invites Suggestions for Changes by 28 February 2014 



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