Eversheds comments on SEPA becoming fully operational in all eurozone countries

Alastair Harris, payment expert at Eversheds, has commented on SEPA payment regulations becoming fully operational in all eurozone countries.

SEPA aims to create a true European single market for retail payments in Europe where transfers, direct debits and payments between member states are as easy and fast as the equivalent domestic transactions.

Harris noted that the European Commission’s view is that electronic payments in the euro area should now be as easy as cash payments and it envisages that SEPA will greatly facilitate euro payments for citizens and businesses and increase competition between banks.

He said: ‘SEPA should indeed bring the advantages of bank transparency; lower prices for basic payment services in countries that are currently high-cost; more efficient cross-border transactions; and only one bank account needed for the whole euro area.’

Patrick Collins, payments expert at law firm Eversheds, added: ‘For consumers, SEPA will allow the use of just one euro bank account for all credit transfers and direct debits, no matter where in Europe the recipients or businesses may be. On the business side, companies will be able to broaden their reach in Europe and reduce their costs as a standardised framework can now be provided for all their payments.

‘For non-eurozone countries such as the UK, SEPA will apply to euro-denominated transactions from 30 October 2016, which should bring the same benefits as described above for both payers and payees alike.’