ECB Cautions against Last-Minute SEPA Migration (Oct. 24, 2013)
The European Central Bank (ECB) is calling the next three months critical for stakeholders still needing to migrate to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) for electronic payments transactions. The deadline for migration to SEPA credit transfer (SCT) and SEPA direct debit (SDD) schemes is Feb. 1, 2014.
“Everybody has to be ready . . . or risk disruptions in their individual handling of payment orders,” said Benoît Cœuré , member of the ECB executive board. “Since our first migration report, we have been emphasizing the fact that both payments providers and users are responsible for being sufficiently prepared. And our message to them is still the same: Don’t leave it to the last minute.”
Whereas migration to the SCT scheme is progressing well, the pace for SDD scheme migration has been much slower, according to the ECB’s second report on SEPA migration, published this week. “The information compiled by the ECB and the euro area national central banks show that many key stakeholders have decided to migrate only in the last quarter of 2013, or even later,” the report states. “This approach generates operational risks and limits the ability to tackle any issues or unexpected developments that might arise during the changeover period.”
The goal of SEPA is to make cross-border euro payments—whether by credit transfer, direct debit or credit/debit card—as quick, safe and easy as domestic payments through common payment protocols and systems.