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June 2014

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Editorial

Addressing SEPA’s shortcomings

In mid-May the European Payments Council (EPC) launched a three-month public consultation on possible changes to the SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) Rulebooks. Treasurers, along with other industry stakeholders, now have until 15th August 2014 to share their views on the Council’s potential modifications. This date is of course, just a few weeks out from the end of the ‘extended’ SEPA migration period – 1st August 2014.

So what changes might take place? Well, according to an April newsletter from the EPC, four common themes are emerging from the SCT and SDD feedback that the Council has already received (28th February 2014 was the official deadline for receipt of suggested changes). Here’s what market participants are asking:

  1. SDD Core standard time cycle. Is it possible to make the current option to use a shorter time cycle for the presentation of first, recurrent and one-off direct debit payments mandatory?

  2. Could SDD sequence types be simplified?

  3. Can more flexibility be introduced regarding the use of electronic mandates for SDDs?

  4. Is it possible to introduce longer remittance information for SCTs and SDDs?

With these suggestions gathered from – among others – PayPal, Caterpillar Financial Services, the French Corporate Treasury Association (AFTE) and the European Payment Institutions Federation, it is clear that the needs of all market participants are being taken into consideration here. But while it is all well and good that the EPC is receiving comment from such varied and expert stakeholders, realistically, what is the likelihood of any of the possible changes actually being implemented?

“Proposed changes to the schemes that find broad acceptance in the entire stakeholder community and are technically and legally feasible are taken forward,” explained Javier Santamaría, Chair of the EPC, in a press statement. “Proposed changes that lack such broad support are not – regardless of whether such a change is proposed by a PSP or by a user representative. This ensures that the SCT and SDD schemes evolve in line with requirements of the majority of all market participants.”

Treasurers who would like to participate in the public consultation should visit the EPC website where they will find the relevant change request documents and the related response templates.

Completed documents should be sent by email to: change-request.EPC-scheme@epc-cep.eu by 15th August 2014.

The next generation Rulebooks (SCT Rulebook version 8.0, SDD Core Rulebook version 8.0 and SDD Business to Business (B2B) Rulebook version 6.0), and associated implementation guidelines will be published in November 2014 and will come into effect in November 2015.

Treasury Today will keep you updated on the results of the public consultation. In the meantime, if you would like to share your views on any of the proposed changes, please email: editorial@treasurytoday.com.