SEPA stands for Single Euro Payments Area. It is a European initiative, launched in 2002 by European financial institutions, aiming to ease and improve the efficiency of cross- border payments and turn the fragmented national markets for euro payments into a single and unified domestic market. SEPA intends to make international payments as fast, easy and secured as domestic payments.
The overall goal of SEPA is to simplify procedures and reduce costs of moving capital around Europe by allowing companies to centralise the management of their payments.
The SEPA initiative allows any debtor to make cashless euro payments to any creditor located in the SEPA area, using a single bank account (IBAN1) and 3 types of common financial instruments:
- the SEPA Credit Transfer system (SCT)
- the SEPA Direct Debit system (SDD)
- the SEPA Cards Framework (SCF).