Since the successful start of SEPA, more and more consumers have been benefiting from the opportunities it offers, said Hans-Joachim Massenberg, Deputy General Manager of the Association of German Banks in Berlin this week. Around 185,000 credit transfers are made every day with the SEPA scheme, Massenberg continued, most of them by retail customers. This was still relatively few compared to the total of 87 million credit transfers handled every day, but the number was rising steadily. At the moment, customers use the SEPA credit transfer mainly for cross-border payments in Europe. It can easily be used for domestic payments as well, however. To further this process, Massenberg called above all on public authorities and businesses to make greater use of SEPA schemes. The SEPA direct debit is to follow in November 2009. Customers will then be able to make payments throughout Europe in the same way as they do today in their own country. They will be able to select their supplier from anywhere in Europe. To ensure a smooth transition from national direct debit schemes to the SEPA direct debit, however, lawmakers still need to establish the necessary legal certainty, said Massenberg. The banking industry has submitted a proposal which will guarantee that the switch from the German to the European direct debit will be as straightforward and secure as possible. This would also create more planning certainty for trade and industry.
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