EPC payment scheme management
The primary mission of the EPC is to manage its four SEPA payment schemes, which are the rules underlying most euro credit transfers and direct debits in the 36 European countries using the SEPA schemes. These schemes are adhered to by thousands of payment service providers (PSPs) in Europe and are used to make over 46 billion transactions each year. The EPC also manages a one-leg out instant credit transfer scheme to support international instant payments between SEPA countries and non-SEPA countries.
Composed of rulebooks and implementation guidelines, the schemes are regularly updated to reflect market needs and evolutions in technical standards. All payment stakeholders have the opportunity to shape the future of payments by participating in the evolution of the schemes.
Participating in the EPC payment schemes
If you are a PSP wishing to adhere to the EPC payment schemes, read more about the criteria for participation. In addition, the Register of Participants is available for consultation to any individual or organisation wishing to know which PSPs are able to send and / or receive SEPA euro transactions.
For new applicants, please see our 24 October 2023 press release on the postponement of the version 2019 ISO20022 migration date of the SEPA payment schemes prior to the submission of your application.
The SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) scheme enables any individual or business to easily and conveniently move money from one account to another. It can be used for one-off or recurring payments and for single or bulk payments, which saves time for the payer. Every year more than 24 billion credit transfers in Europe are made based on the SCT scheme.
The SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme is operational since November 2017. This scheme is the first of its kind to enable the 24/7/365 transfer of money (up to 100,000 euros) in an area as large as SEPA in less than ten seconds. The maximum amount and duration of the transaction are not set in stone and will be reviewed annually from 2018 onwards. In addition, PSPs can bilaterally or multilaterally agree on a higher maximum amount and shorter execution time.
The EPC offers two direct debit schemes: one designed primarily for consumers, the SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) Core scheme, and one exclusively for businesses, the SDD Business-to-Business (B2B) scheme. The SDD Core scheme is mandatory for PSPs offering euro direct debit for consumers, whereas it is optional for PSPs to offer services based on the SDD B2B scheme. Over 21 billion transactions every year are based on the EPC SDD schemes.
The One-Leg Out (OLO) Instant Credit Transfer (OCT Inst) scheme is the newest EPC scheme dedicated to international instant credit transfers. It covers the set of rules, practices and standards to achieve interoperability for the provision and operation of the Euro Leg of an international instant credit transfer agreed at inter-payment service provider (PSP) level within SEPA.
SEPA for cards
Being able to pay with a national card while travelling in Europe is one of the most tangible benefits of payments harmonisation across SEPA. Card is Europeans’ favourite cashless payment instrument. The EPC contributes to increased cards standardisation by participating in the work of the European Cards Stakeholders Group and also undertakes initiatives of its own.
SEPA for mobile
In our increasingly digital society, mobile phones are used to pay either in a face-to-face situation (at a merchant’s store, for example), in which case we refer to ‘mobile proximity payments’, or independently of the payer’s and payee’s locations. In the latter situation, we speak of ‘remote mobile payments’ used for shopping online or for Person-to-Person payments. The EPC contributes to the interoperability of mobile payments at the European level and to the improvement of their convenience, safety, reliability and cost-effectiveness.
SEPA for cash
Cash is still the first method of retail payment in several European countries, though its share among retail payments is decreasing. EPC action in this area has two purposes: reducing the cost of cash, which is considerable, and harmonising cash services in Europe, which should improve both the cost-effectiveness of cash and the quality of the cash distributed.