One of the most important integration processes carried out in the European Union has been the Single Euro Payments Area. Since its entry into force on 1 February 2014, both financial systems and customers of financial institutions have benefited from making or receiving payments, thus eliminating cross-border complications.
To find out exactly what the SEPA area consists of, as well as which countries are part of it, we invite you to read on.
SEPA: what is it?
SEPA is the area where individuals and companies can make or receive payments in euros. These financial processes are carried out under identical conditions for all the countries belonging to the European Union. This means that all economic entities exercise the same obligations and rights, regardless of the nation to which they belong.
If you are wondering what SEPA is, you should know that the acronym derives from the corresponding English acronym, or Single Euro Payments Area, which translates into Spanish as Zona Única de Pagos en Euros (Single Euro Payments Area).
In this way, the area makes it possible to speed up the work of people and companies that carry out intra-community transactions.
SEPA: its main objective
In addition to knowing what SEPA is, it is important that you know its purpose. The area, created for all SEPA member countries, is governed by a set of uniform procedures and rules. This guarantees security, ease, speed and efficiency in making and receiving payments between the different national markets. This has resulted in a more innovative, dynamic and competitive financial scenario. Gone are the days when bureaucracy was needed to make international payments or transfers.
Harmonisation in cross-border payment rules has had a positive impact on payment instruments such as transfers, debit and credit cards and direct debit orders.
SEPA: its great advantages
Among the benefits offered by the SEPA zone, you will find the following:
- Transfers between financial institutions receive the same treatment as any national transfer. These are carried out efficiently thanks to the BIC (Bank Identifier Code) and IBAN (International Bank Account Number) codes.
- The area guarantees the effectiveness of the transactions carried out between financial institutions and customers in the different countries that make up the area.
- The financial operations are agile, comfortable, and null or very low cost.
Freedom and security regarding payments and collections: payment of payrolls, pensions, punctual payments, use of cards to pay and to dispose of cash.
All SEPA nations
The SEPA countries are grouped into 34 states, of which 28 belong to members of the European Union. This is the list of SEPA countries: