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15/11/2013 PROFILE > Tout public

Payment in euros: Adoption of compulsory SEPA standards before 1 February 2014

From 1 February 2014, all payments and debits in euros (France and Europe) should respect SEPA standards (Single Euro Payments Area). This unique euro payment area will cover 33 countries in Europe but only 18, including France, have the due date of 1 February 2014. The others have longer (October 2016).
The use of SEPA standards primarily consists of a new file exchange format between banks and companies (XML format), as well as the use of the BIC and IBAN numbers to replace the RIB bank details. It will notably allow for shortening deadlines for bank transfers (next day) and debits (between 2 to 5 days) within the countries concerned. The debtor will see its protection increased given that it will be able to request repayment of any SEPA debit within 8 weeks following the transaction. 
50% of payments issued in France each year are already in this new format. However, according to the CGPME, SMEs are a little late in taking up this mechanism: more than one in two was unaware of the SEPA standards at the end of September 2013 and a majority of them had never initiated any transaction following these standards at this date. However, if switch over to SEPA is not undertaken on time, it is the majority of accounting functions which will be affected risking to a block in payments.