Six Major ACHs Join SWIFT SEPA Testing
Six automated clearing houses (ACHs) processing the majority of retail payments in Europe will test compliance with SEPA standards using the SWIFT Testing Programme. ACHs are also encouraging their clients, major banks across Europe, to join the one-time testing programme as part of their operational readiness assessment. More than 130 financial institutions have registered to date. Dias (Greece), Equens (The Netherlands, Germany), IberPay (Spain), Seceti (Italy), SIBS (Portugal) and STET (France) will process SEPA compliant payments from 1 January 2008. Their participation in the SWIFT SEPA Testing Programme is designed to confirm the infrastructure in place is compliant with SEPA standards and to foster a smooth migration for their bank customers. Banks participating will receive a SEPA standards compliance label upon successful completion of the Programme. The SEPA Testing Programme is managed by SWIFT and designed in close coordination with the EPC. It also meets calls from regulatory authorities for SEPA compliance of ACHs. The participation of ACHs in the SEPA Testing Programme will encourage clearing and settlement infrastructures and their banks to strictly comply with core mandatory SEPA standards defined by the EPC as well as foster interoperability and switchability across Europe by preventing the emergence of variances to the SEPA ISO 20022 standard. The SEPA Testing Programme will go live on 2 July 2007.