The European Parliament has agreed a draft regulation on the migration from domestic legacy payment instruments to single euro payments area (SEPA) instruments. The regulation sets 1 February 2014 as the migration deadline for credit transfers and (in respect of most requirements) for direct debits. It also provides for a phasing out of multilateral interchange fees (MIFs), which currently apply to direct debit transactions in certain member states, by 1 February 2017 for national payments and by 1 November 2012 for cross-border payments.
The draft regulation constitutes a key element of SEPA, an EU-wide integrated market for credit transfers and direct debits with no distinction between national and cross-border payments. The agreement with the Parliament paves the way for adoption of the regulation at the first reading. The regulation will then be adopted by the Parliament in plenary session and by the Council without further discussion, once the text has been finalised in all official languages.
For consumers, who are becoming increasingly mobile in both professional and private terms, standardised cross-border payments will eliminate the need to maintain several payment accounts in different countries. For payment service providers (PSPs) and payment processors, economies of scale and common standards achieved under SEPA will make payments across the EU much more efficient.
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