A Primer on SEPA

As a relatively green Strategist for the Fusion Payments module, I've started a knowledge quest of sorts to get myself quickly up to speed on relevent topics.  In meetings with my new development team, SEPA comes up frequently.  So, I've done a little research and I thought I'd pass on a quick summary of my findings


 


What is SEPA?


SEPA stands for Single European Payments Area and it is an area in which consumers, companies and other economic actors will be able to make and receive payments in euros, whether between or within national boundaries under the same basic conditions, rights and obligations, regardless of their location.  It is comprised of:


 



  • a single currency
  • a single set of euro payment instruments - credit transfers, direct debits and card payments
  • an efficient processing infrastructure for euro payments 
  • a common set of technical standards
  • a common set of business practices
  • a harmonized legal basis

Why did SEPA come about?


Back in 2000, European political big wigs got together in Lisbon and decided the EU would be one of the world's leading knowledge-based economies by 2010 - a plan that has become known as the Lisbon Agenda. Out of this stemmed the idea to support innovation and the idea of a single market by making it easier and cheaper to move money around the EU. The European Commission decided that cross-border payments should cost no more than domestic payments and, in 2002 the European Payments Council (a group of banks) sketched plans for how this would be done. Thus the Single European Payments Area was born.


 


Stay tuned for more on:



  • Why is SEPA important? 
  • Do I care if I don't do business in Europe?

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