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SEPA Standard To Take Effect

In February 2014, the SEPA standard for Direct Debit will become compulsory for the full Euro zone. All European countries outside of this Euro zone will have until 2016 to comply.

SEPA (Single European Payment Area) is a project carried out by all European countries to develop a common standard on all payment methods. This standard will replace current standards that vary widely country by country, especially for Direct Debit.

Among major changes introduced by SEPA are:

  • the BIC/IBAN format will be the standard for bank accounts
  • authorizations will be handled through a mandate that the vendor will manage instead of the bank
  • a new XML exchange file will be established between banks and companies for all of Europe

ACS anticipated and prepared for the new standard. The BIC/IBAN format can be set up beginning with the 2012R3 release and the XML file format is available in release 2013R1. Advantage already provides other features that enable handling of other aspects of SEPA, such as mandates.

All Advantage clients that wish to move SEPA must contact their account manager in order to schedule this change. As banks will become more and more occupied with these projects when the cut-over date gets closer, you should allow at least three months for implementation.

The SEPA standards may be accessed either by:

  1. An upgrade to 2013R1 that will incorporate the changes requested for SEPA
  2. A retrofit of the missing SEPA features in your current release

Besides the retrofit, time will be needed for the conversion of the current bank account numbers to BIC/IBAN, the setting of communications with customers, mandate management (paper or electronic) with related potential vendors, and sufficient testing to ensure readiness.

ACS will support all clients that want/need to move to this new standard. We will work with you to do so within your timeframe, but please note that other factors, such as participation by your bank(s) will affect the timing.

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