SEPA benefits to private consumers
SEPA payment instruments will be available in the whole EU, and customers will only need a single account, which should not necessarily be opened in the country where the customer is resident. They will be able to make credit transfers and settle direct debit operations in euro from this account in the whole EU as simply as domestic payments. A larger selection of service providers and thus a stronger competition will ensure a high quality of services and optimal fees. Similar requirements, transparent service fees, strict money transfer time limits will ensure a transparent and straightforward payment processing.
Benefits to enterprises
SEPA benefits available to private customers are also important to enterprises. In addition, enterprises will be able to simplify the administration of payments, i.e. to pool liquidity and perform operations in euro in a centralised way from a single account by using standardised SEPA payment instruments. Thus, they will not only incur lower costs, but also their employees will save time.
The services that create the value added, for example, electronic presentation of accounts, electronic reconciliation of the presented and paid accounts, will help enterprises to further improve the administration of payments. These services are currently mostly offered at the national level, since it is difficult to do it at the cross-border level due to the different payment formats used.
Benefits to the public sector
The migration to SEPA payment instruments will provide a possibility for the public sector to select the provider of payment services from any country of the SEPA area and to search for the best price to quality ratio of payment services. It will be simple to reach beneficiaries in the whole EU and to receive the funds from payers to a single account. The public sector will be able to use SEPA payment instruments in electronic government projects already under implementation (electronic procurement, electronic signature, etc.).
European Payment Council (EPC) is responsible for the coordination of common interbank aspects. It is the main body of European banks that coordinates and adopts SEPA related decisions. EPC prepared SEPA credit transfer and SEPA direct debit schemes (rules and requirements) and adopted guidelines on the operation of payment cards in the SEPA area. Following these guidelines, the providers of payment services (banks, credit unions, payment institutions) prepare the final offers of payment services for customers and propose additional services, if needed. SEPA payment instruments will become widespread only when the users of these services will be ready to use them. Enterprises and public sector institutions play an important role here, since they are the most important users of payment services.