SEPA - Single Euro Payments Area

What is SEPA?

Safe and efficient payments, throughout Europe

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is a project to harmonise the way we make and process retail payments in euro. The goal is to make payments in euro and across Europe as fast, safe and efficient as national payments are today. SEPA enables customers to make cashless euro payments to anyone located anywhere in Europe, for example by credit transfer, direct debit or debit card. About SEPA, presentation "SEPA in a nutshell"

A video introduction (available in 23 languages)

Updated on: 9 July 2013
The SEPA logo is a registered trademark of the European Payments Council.

SEPA countries

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) initiative aims to overcome technical, legal and market barriers between countries in order to create a single market for retail payments in euro. The SEPA territory consists of 34 European countries and also includes countries which are not part of the euro area and the European Union. SEPA countries

Stakeholders and legal framework

The SEPA project was launched by the European banking and payments industry and is supported by EU governments, the European Commission, the Eurosystem, and other public authorities (Stakeholders). Agreed standards, technical requirements, and a common legal basis are the foundation for payments within the SEPA area, irrespective of the countries involved in the transaction. Features

Key figures

SEPA indicators at a glance (euro area)
SEPA credit transfers as % of total transactions 99.4 % (*) 
SEPA direct debit as % of total transactions 99.9 % (*) 
EMV transactions as % of total transactions at POS terminals 78.6 % (**)
(*) August 2014, (**) December 2014

Migrating to SEPA

Two new SEPA instruments were introduced in 2008 (SEPA credit transfer) and 2009 (SEPA direct debit). EU Regulation No 260/2012 establishes the technical and business requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euro. The regulation is also referred to as the “SEPA end-date regulation” and defines the deadlines for the migration to the new SEPA instruments. The deadline for the euro area is 1 February 2014 and for non-euro area Member States 31 October 2016. As of these dates, the existing national euro credit transfer and direct debit schemes will be replaced. A proposal amending the SEPA end-date regulation introduces a further transition period of six months that can be applied in euro area countries.