The latest figures from the European Central Bank (ECB) reveal an acceleration of the number of businesses becoming Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) compliant.
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Figures for December show that 74% of businesses are now compliant with the Sepa credit transfer regulation, compared with 64% a month earlier. Direct debit compliance was only 41% in December, but this was a significant increase on November when only 26% of companies were compliant.
The deadline for compliance is 1 February 2014, but earlier this month, in a final warning to laggards, the European Commission proposed a six-month extension to the deadline for European countries to be compliant with the Sepa. This would see no harsh penalties for companies not complying.
Despite this extension, the ECB stressed that businesses need to be compliant by 1 February, and is confident that most will be: "If the current pace of migration continues, the vast majority of stakeholders will complete their migration by 1 February 2014.
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"The ECB urges all market participants to continue their current migration pace and to complete the transition of all credit transfer and direct debit transactions to the Sepa standards by 1 February 2014.”
All European businesses making and receiving payments to and from the Eurozone – which includes most large UK businesses – must do so using the Sepa standard. This means using International Bank Account Numbers (Ibans) and the ISO2022 XML format.