New: Direct Debit for Consumers - a convenient and secure way to make payments
The publication ' Direct Debit for Consumers' (a link is included below) focuses on the Core Direct Debit Scheme () which serves as an easy-to-use and secure payment method, allowing bank customers to make direct debit payments domestically and - for the first time ever - across 32 countries. This booklet is a concise and non-technical reference for payers (and billers) who wish to learn more about the many features and options provided by , which is designed to make paying bills even more convenient in everyday live.
As of November 2010, all banks1 in the euro area offering national direct debit services are mandated by EU law to be "reachable" for cross-border direct debit payments. In practice, this means that any consumer who holds an account in the euro area, which provides the option to make direct debit payments at national level, will be able to make payments by as well. Naturally, this requires businesses to give consumers the option to pay for goods and services via SDD.
New: Shortcut to Who is Who in
The "Shortcut to Who is Who in " (a link is included below) provides an overview of the main actors driving forward the vision at a European level including the , the European Commission, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN - comprising the EU Finance and Budget Ministers), the European Parliament, the European Central Bank / Eurosystem, the Council and the EU Forum of National Coordination Committees. This publication describes specific responsibilities in the process of making a reality. This publication also reaffirms that the - as it is sometimes mistakenly assumed - is NOT responsible for the overall management of the process.
Updated edition: Shortcut to Direct Debit
The "Shortcut to Direct Debit" (a link is included below) summarises the main features of the SDD Schemes, including their key benefits. The Schemes define sets of rules and standards for the execution of payment transactions that have to be observed by payment service providers (). The Schemes are set out in the Scheme Rulebooks approved by the . These rulebooks can be regarded as instruction manuals which ensure a common understanding between on how to move funds from account A to account B within . The rules and standards which make up a payment scheme are defined by in the collaborative space provided by the .
The particular payment products and services offered to the customer are developed by individual, or groups of, operating in a competitive environment. The Schemes provide the flexibility and options which enable to add features and services of their choice to the actual payment products.
For a definitive source of information regarding the rules and obligations of the schemes, refer to the SDD Scheme Rulebooks and the accompanying 'Implementation Guidelines' available for download on the website.
Updated edition: Shortcut to Credit Transfer
In January 2008, more than 4,300 banks in 32 countries, representing more than 95 per cent of euro payment volume in Europe, took a historical step towards the realisation of by launching the Credit Transfer Scheme ().
The 'Shortcut to Credit Transfer' (a link is included below) summarises the main features of the Scheme including its key benefits. For a definitive source of information regarding the rules and obligations of the scheme, refer to the Scheme Rulebook and the accompanying 'Implementation Guidelines' available for download on the website.
Updated edition: Shortcut to the Data Format
The "Shortcut to the Data Format" (a link is included below) summarises the main features of the data formats as specified in the Implementation Guidelines which accompany the Scheme Rulebook and the SDD Scheme Rulebooks.
In the world of payments processing, the role of the data format used to exchange information between banks can be compared to the role of language in communication between people. Today, dozens of different data formats are in place to process payments across different national and European clearing systems in the European Union.
The realisation of requires agreement on a common set of data to be exchanged in a common syntax. The data formats, as specified by the for the exchange of payments like direct debits and credit transfers, represent a common data set. These formats are binding for the exchange of payments between scheme participants ( offering services that have formally agreed to adhere to the Payment Schemes developed by the ). Implementation of the data formats in the customer-to-bank and bank-to-customer communication is not mandatory, but strongly recommended.
The latest versions of the Implementation Guidelines which accompany the payment schemes are available for download on the website.
Updated edition: video feature "An Introduction to "
The will release an updated edition of the video feature "An Introduction to " in the first week of November 2010. The video highlights the key objectives and offers practical guidance on the use of the International Bank Account Number (IBAN - based on ISO2 standard 13616) and the Business Identifier Code (BIC - based on ISO standard 9362). enables bank customers to exchange euro payments between any accounts in the 32 countries. This is only possible when banks and bank customers agree to use account identifiers which are unique and which therefore allow accounts to be pinpointed not only at national level but anywhere in . Consequently, in , IBAN and BIC are the only permissible account identifiers.
This video is produced in English; sub-titled editions in all languages will be made available. A link to the video will be added in this article once posted on the homepage.
publication "SEPA Direct Debit for Consumers - a convenient and secure way to make payments" (new!) (This publication was replaced by new material. Please visit the Website page 'SEPA Customers'.)
publication "Shortcut to Who is Who in SEPA" (new!)
video feature "An Introduction to SEPA"
Related articles in this issue:
So what's in a Name? Explaining payment schemes, instruments and systems. Clarity on payment terms is critical in the debate over the approach to setting end dates for migration to SEPA through EU Regulation.
1 The term "bank" is used in a non-discriminatory fashion and does not exclude payment service providers that are not credit institutions.
2 ISO: International Organization for Standardization
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