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European Cross Border Direct Debits Now Up And Running

Good news for all you mobile European citizens. Anybody living and working in one European country but needing to make regular payments in another has something new to be thankful for.

Now for the first time, consumers and businesses will be able to make direct debit transactions between different countries in the Euro area. Only recently implemented using the BIC and IBAN identification numbers which follow a standardised format across Europe, it is now possible to make cross border direct debit payments in 32 countries (the 27 EU member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Monaco), from a single bank account.  As easy, efficient and secure as domestic payments, the scheme is designed to empower 490 million European citizens including international business people, students, holiday-home owners and those who have retired abroad with the convenience of being able to use just one local bank account when making both domestic payments and payments abroad.

For example, you might run a manufacturing company, purchase components on a regular monthly basis from another European country and want to set up a fixed monthly payment. Well now you can. 

Perhaps you live in London and have a child studying at university in Berlin? Now you can set up a monthly payment to their mobile phone operator in Germany from your UK bank account. Maybe you have property in another of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) territories?  Now it's much easier to organise settlement of regular local bills with mobile phone companies, energy or telecommunication suppliers. 

'Thanks to industry's efforts and a solid legal platform at EU level, direct debit payments can now be made between different countries in the Euro area – good news for consumers, for businesses and for the economy as a whole.' said Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy.

With 70% of all banks in the Euro area already committed to the SEPA schemes, and the European Central Bank insisting that all join by the November 1st 2010 the new convenience is well and truly up and running (with the exception of France, who are due to have the scheme in operation within the year).

Single Euro Payments - very welcome news for any European citizens who spend their time between countries.


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