The European Commission (EC) has laid out a plan for achieving the full implementation of the single euro payments area (SEPA).
- Foster migration: Rapid migration is crucial in order to minimise the costly period of running legacy and SEPA systems in parallel. Public authorities should play a key role here. An efficient monitoring of the migration process will help anticipate and remedy possible migration problems. Setting an end-date to the SEPA changeover could significantly boost the SEPA migration process.
- Increase SEPA awareness and promote SEPA products: All parties involved in the SEPA changeover need to be fully informed about its numerous benefits. This could be achieved through tailor-made information and communication initiatives.
- Design a sound legal environment and strengthen SEPA compliance: The removal of legal barriers and the design of proper business models which are fully in line with competition rules are cornerstones for a smooth SEPA take-up and increased competition in the payments market. In a self-regulatory context, efficient compliance monitoring deserves special attention.
- Promote innovation: SEPA should be a driver for the modernisation of retail payment markets, facilitating the use of internet and mobile phones for making payments and promoting the development of environment-friendly e-invoicing solutions.
- Ensure necessary standardisation, interoperability and security: Interoperable, open and secure standards are essential in a network industry such as payments in order to reap the full benefits of SEPA.
- Clarify and improve SEPA governance: An over-arching and efficient governance mechanism that meets the needs of the users is needed at EU level. The main objectives of the new governance structure should be to define a clear strategic vision for SEPA, monitor and support SEPA migration and ensure transparency and accountability.
Charlie McCreevy, internal market commissioner, said: “To make SEPA a success, a strong commitment by all actors concerned is needed to ensure that the project is delivered on time and in a fully accountable way. At the same time, there is an increasing need for regulators and market players to work together to give Europe an efficient, secure and high performance system for non-cash payments in euro. By providing a roadmap where actions, actors and deadlines are clearly identified, this communication will play a decisive contribution in helping SEPA successfully achieving its last miles.”