Version 3.2 of the Core Direct Debit Scheme Rulebook
At its last meeting in December 2008, the Plenary approved the SEPA Core Direct Debit Scheme (SDD) Rulebook version 3.2. The SDD Rulebook now includes the e-mandate solution as an optional service to be offered by banks that will participate in the scheme (for details on the e-mandate feature see the article "Secure and convenient: the E-Mandate Solution" in this newsletter). Besides the addition of the e-mandate option as Annex VII, the Rulebook remains essentially unchanged. Annex III of the Rulebook gives details of the amendments made compared with the previous version.
The Plenary recognised that further modifications of the SDD Rulebook might be necessary with respect to specific legal aspects pertaining to Annex I relating to the adherence of banks to the Core Direct Debit Scheme; Annex II relating to the Scheme Management Internal Rules and the legal chapter of Annex VII regarding the e-mandate solution. Any such possible modifications will not affect the operational aspects of the scheme.
From an operational point of view the Rulebook is complete and no further functional changes are foreseen before launch. Version 3.2 of the Core Direct Debit Scheme Rulebook now forms the basis for first implementation, replacing version 3.1.
The introduction of the Core Direct Debit Scheme requires a uniform -wide legal framework for payments. The launch of the scheme is therefore contingent upon adoption of the Payment Services Directive (PSD) into the national law of member states. The PSD defines, for example, common rules on the authorisation of payments, the return of payments and customers' rights to contest direct debits. The general -wide launch date for the Core Direct Debit Scheme has been set in principle by the for November 2009. This launch date coincides with the deadline for all member states to have adopted the PSD into national law.
Harmonised customer-to-bank (C2B) Guidelines for the Direct Debit Schemes
Work has been done to further enhance the implementation guidelines applying to the ISO 20022 XML customer-to-bank direct debit messages. These guidelines are based on a number of existing community guidelines. Harmonised specifications for the customer-to-bank communication are available as of September 2008 for optional but strongly recommended implementation in February 2009 for Credit Transfer. In December 2008, the Plenary also approved the C2B Core Direct Debit Guidelines version 3.2 and the C2B B2B Direct Debit Guidelines v1.1, the latter pertaining to the Business to Business Direct Debit Scheme. The updated Implementation Guidelines are communicated to national banking communities, relevant stakeholders and suppliers in order for them to take the next steps in implementation effective for the launch date of the SDD Schemes. Changes also included those to the C2B Core Direct Debit Guidelines agreed for the optional e-mandate service now forming part of the Core Direct Debit Scheme Rulebook version 3.2. The latest versions of the Direct Debit Implementation Guidelines will be available at the website (for further details see also the article "Less is more: one Standard for the Customer-to-Bank Communication" in this newsletter).
Annual release schedule for Schemes agreed
The Scheme Management Internal Rules (SMIR) annexed to the Scheme Rulebooks, respectively, foresee the possibility of an annual release for the Schemes, whereby may introduce changes in the Rulebooks. The Plenary resolved that will have one annual release date, common for all Schemes, which will be the third week of November, aligned with the SWIFT release date. The release date will be preceded by a freeze period of 12 months. The goal is to ensure that the banking industry works with a single Rulebook version throughout . In addition, the timeline for submission of suggestions for changes to the Schemes was approved (for further details including the timeline for the 2010 release of the Credit Transfer Scheme please see the article "SEPA Schemes: EPC approves Release Schedule" in this newsletter).
Application pack for non-credit institutions wishing to adhere to the Credit Transfer Scheme
The Credit Transfer Scheme Rulebook defines the eligibility criteria for an organisation wishing to adhere to the scheme. To become a scheme participant, an undertaking must submit to the an executed and original adherence agreement. In September 2007, made available on its website the necessary documents for adherence of credit institutions, and this was used by banks throughout to become Credit Transfer scheme participants from 28 January 2008 onwards. In addition, the Scheme Management Committee (SMC) has developed an application pack for adherence to the Credit Transfer Scheme for applicants that are not credit institutions. This document provides a template application form for applicants that are neither licensed credit institutions (nor licensed Swiss banks) nor are entities listed under Article 2 of Directive 2006/48/EC (or equivalent Swiss entities). The Plenary approved the Adherence Pack for Non-Credit Institutions which is now available at the website.
Approval of the Cards Standardisation Volume
The declared aim of creating a for cards is to make such payments significantly simpler for cardholders and merchants. The for cards will be achieved to the greatest extent possible through the use of open and free standards, available to all parties within the card payment value chain. is carrying out a cards standardisation programme designed to remove any technical obstacles preventing a consistent customer experience throughout the cards market. In December 2008, the Plenary adopted the Cards Standardisation Volume version 3.01 to be published on the website. The Volume defines the functional and security requirements as well as the target evaluation methodology and certification architecture that are recommended by the for adoption by players throughout the card payment value chain to ensure interoperability within (for further details see the article "SEPA for Cards: from Vision to Reality" in this newsletter).
Recommendations on anti-skimming devices
In response to the growth of skimming fraud the approved a number of recommendations designed to limit related criminal activities. The growth of skimming is a major driver for the rollout of EMV (Europay MasterCard Visa programme to implement CHIP & PIN security for card transactions) across the area. Migration to EMV should be completed by 2010 and it has already resulted in dramatic reductions in the use of fraudulently duplicated cards in the countries where it has been introduced. However, it has also resulted in fraudulent transactions migrating to countries where EMV has not yet been implemented or is not planned, often outside the area. As many such countries have no plans to introduce EMV, cards will continue to have both magnetic-stripe and chip and therefore there will remain a significant risk of a fraudster skimming a magnetic-stripe card in an EMV country and using the duplicate card in a non-EMV country or environment. The EPC recommendations on anti-skimming devices can be downloaded from the website.
The next Plenary meeting will take place on 31 March 2009.
Herman Segers is the Secretary General of the .
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