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13 april 2012

2014 : deadline for SEPA migration

The swift adoption of the European regulation setting a date for completion of the migration to SEPA is essential for the mobilisation of all players. In France, the proportion of SEPA instruments is slowly increasing.


A single end date for the migration to SEPA

The draft European regulation establishing dates for the end of migration to SEPA has focused on the definition of a single date for the abandonment of national transfer and direct debit schemes in favour of SEPA instruments. This single date has been set for 1 Febuary 2014. Specific national payment instruments (such as the "TIP" bank giro payment and the "télérèglement" electronic payment order in France) are expected to disappear by Febuary 2016.

The regulation, which is expected to be adopted in H1 2012, also imposes new technical and pricing requirements for SEPA transfers and direct debits. The French banks regret the introduction of these measures while SEPA payment instruments have already been lauched. In particular, these decisions undermine a system based on interoperability, whose effectiveness and security require the banks to make continuous and costly investments which justify a remuneration for the service provided.

Still low use for the new payment instruments

In France, the National SEPA Committee, chaired by the Banque de France and the FBF, regularly reviews the progress of the migration of national instruments to the SEPA transfer and direct debit schemes.

  • The volume of SEPA transfers has risen dus to the gradual migration of government offices. However, at end-2011, it was still relatively low with 24.7% of transfers carried out in SEPA format, a similar rate to that for SEPA transfers in Europe (23.7%).
  • More than one year after it was made available by the banks, the number of SEPA direct debits remains insignificant : it represents less than 0.2% of all direct debits, both in France and in Europe.

The National Committee would remind the European authorities tha swift adoption of the European regulation is essential for the mobilisation of all players. Publishing the regulation in the summer 2012 will actualy leave companies only 18 months to finalise their migration to SEPA instruments.

In light of the future termination of the "TIP" and "télérèglement" schemes, the National Committee supports the development of innovative alternative payment instruments meeting the needs of users.

The Committee is also campaigning among all the players to encourage them to step up their SEPA migration efforts and to ensure they are able to meet the European deadline. In 2012, and once the regulation has been adopted, it intends to organise regional communication inititiatives : these will help raise the awareness of SME and VSE owners in partiucular.

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