European Union (EU) finance ministers
asked the banking industry on Tuesday to rapidly prepare itself for the
“single euro payments area” (SEPA), which will be launched next Monday.
The ministers, who met in Brussels, asked the industry “to redouble
its efforts and complete work, in particular in relation to the
outstanding standards required in the cards market and in the
customer-to-bank and bank-to-customer space,” said the ministers in a
They also encouraged the industry to develop attractive SEPA payment
products and market them actively so that there is a natural momentum
for customers to migrate from existing payment instruments to the new
SEPA payment products in a market-driven process.
They also called for rapid and smooth SEPA migration so that dual
payment processing costs are kept to the minimum.
The ministers encouraged public authorities to be early adopters of
SEPA payment instruments.
SEPA will allow customers to make non-cash euro payments to any
beneficiary located anywhere in the euro area using a single bank
account and a single set of payment instruments.
In other words, there will no longer be any differentiation between
national and cross-border payments within the euro area.