SEPA Transfers: Everything You Need to Know

SEPA Transfers: Everything You Need to Know

Making international payments comes with multiple advantages for any business. However, if you need to send money abroad, the transfer process can become a difficult one, particularly if you are a novice and do not know where to start. Institutions in Europe took a great leap with the initiative to enable businesses and people to receive fast, domestic-like, cross-border transfers easily. Thus, transferring euros across the entire European Union has become a fairly straightforward process, primarily due to the introduction of SEPA transfers.



   1. What is the SEPA zone?


SEPA stands for Single Euro Payments Area; a payment integration initiative of the European Union that aims to harmonise cross-border transfers in euro. Currently, there are 36 members of SEPA; this number includes the 28 member states of the EU, the four member states of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) and countries signed up with full membership. In addition, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City participate in technical schemes to operate within the SEPA zone.


This system was officially introduced on 1 February 2014, replacing all domestic euro schemes across Europe.



   2. What are SEPA payments?


SEPA payments are payments that are processed via the SEPA network to facilitate cross-border bank transfers. It is the simplest way of transferring Euros between countries that have signed up to this agreement. It enables people and businesses to send and receive cross-border transfers in euro as easily and rapidly as domestic transfers.


All SEPA transfers must be made in Euros. If you need to send money in a different currency, then the SWIFT transfer process will be used.


Payments typically take between 1 and 2 working days to complete. SEPA transfers are guaranteed to arrive within 48 hours, but the transaction may show in your account even sooner than this.



   3. What are the benefits of SEPA payments?


Before the introduction of SEPA, transferring money or even paying for goods and services in another Euro country with a debit card sometimes took a long time.


Simplicity, convenience and cost-effectiveness are the 3 core benefits of SEPA payments. Consumers can now rely on one payment account and card to make euro payments wherever they are in Europe, which provides them peace of mind when they are travelling in Europe or making online purchases on websites based in other countries. Equally, enterprises see increased business opportunities and can more easily access a broad European market. As they do not have to deal with multiple payment card standards for euro payments, they save time and money.



   4. Are there limits to SEPA payments?


The new maximum amount for the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (STC Inst) scheme has come into effect on July 1, 2020. Payment end-users can now transfer to up to EUR 100,000 per SCT Inst transaction.


This results from a decision which the Scheme Management Board of the European Payments Council (EPC) took on September 12, 2019. Previously, the maximum amount per a single transaction was set at EUR 15,000. For larger transfers, it may be worth making several payments of EUR 100,000 instead of a single large transfer.



   5. Making a SEPA Payment with PAYSTREE


Arranging a SEPA payment with PAYSTREE is very easy. You can do either on the website or mobile app. The main difference between a SEPA transfer and a transfer within the same country is that you must use the recipient’s International Bank Account Number (IBAN).


Paying on time is important for a business, and PAYSTREE can help. You can download confirmation of your SEPA payment and send it to your business partner to show that the funds are on the way. You will also get an email confirmation with updates on your transfer generated by PAYSTREE Payment System.



   Concluding Remarks


The aim of SEPA transfers is to make an international transfer of euro payments as seamless as when making a domestic bank transfer. It enables anyone who holds an account with a bank or other payment service provider located in the countries covered by the SEPA to send and receive Euro payments to and from accounts anywhere else in SEPA. In a world where boundaries between nations are blurring more than ever before, this scheme is an essential step towards making payments, business, and transactions much easier.