The European Commission (EC) has launched a consultation on whether and how deadlines should be set for the migration of existing payment products – i.e. credit transfers and direct debits – to the single euro payments area (SEPA) products. Feedback from all stakeholders, including banks, corporates, SMEs and public administrations, will help the EC to identify whether there is a need for action in this respect and at which level. Interested parties are invited to send their comments to the EC by 3 August 2009.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: “The SEPA project holds much promise in terms of improved efficiency, dynamism and competitiveness of the European economy. Significant progress has been made on the road to SEPA since 2002, but migration remains slow. We should therefore assess whether some deadlines should be defined for the migration to the new SEPA credit transfers and direct debits.”
SEPA covers three core payment instruments: SEPA credit transfer (SCT), SEPA direct debit (SDD) and payment cards. Setting clear deadlines for the migration of legacy instruments to SEPA would send a strong signal to all stakeholders that SEPA migration is an irreversible process. It would provide certainty and predictability and act as a strong incentive for both industry and users to speed up migration. The European Central Bank/Eurosystem stated in its 6th SEPA progress report that “setting a realistic, but ambitious end date for the migration to SCT and SDD is a necessary step in order to reap the benefits of SEPA early”.
The consultation document is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/payments/sepa/ec_en.htm.
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