SEPA Timeline – The Past, Present and Future… 3

With 1st February 2016 SEPA deadline ahead of us, I thought it would be worthwhile taking stock – via a SEPA timeline – of where we’re at, where we’ve come from and where we’re going on this SEPA journey. Getting to the point we’re at right now has taken over 15 years, a couple of SEPA deadlines, lots of confusion mixed with plenty of ups and downs.

SEPA Timeline


  • 1st January – euro currency was officially launched as an electronic / accounting currency, ‘old’ currency continued to be used for cash payments


  • 1st January – introduction of euro banknotes and coins in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland and Greece
  • EPC – European Payments Council was founded and explained it was “the decision-making and coordination body of the European banking industry in relation to payments”


  • 5th December – official publication of the Payment Services Directive (PSD) – the regulatory initiative tasked to standardise payment services within the European Union



  • 1st November – Deadline for the implementation of PSD in the euro countries
  • November – EPC launches the SEPA Direct Debit schemes


  • 31st March
    • Regulation No 260/2012 detailing the technical and business requirements for SEPA Credit Transfers and SEPA Direct Debits was published – also known as the SEPA Regulation
    • The SEPA Regulation mandated that credit transfers and direct debits should be implemented as stated in the requirements by 1st February 2014
  • 1st November – cross border interbank fees for direct debits no longer permitted


  • 1st February:
    • Member states to indicate their non-compliance penalties
    • Member states to identify any payment / direct debit collection schemes that would be exempt from the SEPA Regulation


  • 9th January – EC announces a 6 month ‘transition period’ – effectively allowing ‘legacy’ payment and direct debit collections to continue until 1st August 2014
  • 1st February –
    • BIC no longer mandatory for ‘domestic’ SEPA Credit Transfer, unless otherwise stated by member state
  • 1st August
    • ‘Legacy’ payments and direct debit scheme END DATE within the euro countries


  • 1st February:
    • BIC no longer mandatory for cross border SEPA credit transfers – the so called ‘IBAN only rule’
    • Niche products deadline for the migration to SEPA Credit Transfer / SEPA Direct Debits
  • 31st October – SEPA deadline for euro denominated payments in non-euro area countries


  • 1st February – domestic interbank fees for direct debits will no longer be permitted
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 SEPA Timeline – Where Next…?

Of course, I’ve not highlighted every milestone in the SEPA story, just the ones that I feel are relevant at this moment in time. If all of the in/outs of the SEPA timeline were highlighted, I think you’d be sleeping by now. 😉

Clearly SEPA will continue to evolve especially in light of all of the technological developments that are happening in the financial services space – namely real time payments, mobile payments, digital currencies and user security and authentication – the question is, can the SEPA Regulation keep apace of the fast changing technology and evolving consumer demands….?

3 thoughts on “SEPA Timeline – The Past, Present and Future…

  1. Pingback: 10 Reasons Why SEPA is like Sitting High School Exams

  2. Pingback: Instant Payments | Real Time Payments in Europe

  3. Pingback: EU Euro Payments Must be SEPA Compliant by 31 Oct 2016

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