40% of UK Corporates Believe SEPA a Priority

A survey by Experian reveals that while the majority (67%) of large UK-based organisations are primarily focused on enhancing business efficiency and reducing cost over the coming six months, payments regulation will also remain high on the corporate agenda.

The survey of payments professionals, conducted at Experian’s Payment Strategies 2009 conference, found that complying with changes in payments regulation, such as the migration to the single euro payments area (SEPA) and the Payment Services Directive (PSD), remains a priority for 40% of large companies.

Finance companies are most focused on complying with upcoming payments regulation (53%), while 26% of the insurance companies questioned are making it a priority to become compliant by the end of the year.

Almost a third of corporates are planning to make use of the SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) service in the next 12 months, indicating that they are far better informed about the SEPA initiative and its value to their businesses. An Experian survey undertaken in 2008 revealed that 48% of corporates felt that there was insufficient information provided on the move to SEPA.

Jonathan Williams, director of product development and strategy at Experian Payments, said: “While most corporates involved in the migration to the pan-European direct debit scheme would admit that it has not been a smooth path to tread, SEPA does create direct business opportunities for these organisations. Those planning to make use of the initiative will benefit from greater efficiency in terms of consolidating their systems and rationalising the number of bank accounts they hold, as well as having a common standard for direct debit transactions in euro countries. Those corporates which need to make payments to and receive payments from the European Economic Area will benefit from this more standardised approach to payment transactions.”

He added: “Under SEPA, the use of IBAN and BIC and to identify the bank and account of a payment beneficiary will become mandatory for all cross-border euro payments. Corporates need to be aware of the fact that failure to validate these details before making a payment will result in increased costs and poor customer service. They will need to make the necessary changes in the coming months to avoid these pitfalls which, if not addressed, could affect the profitability of their business.”

Fifty-four UK-based organisations responded to the survey.


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