With the short notice decision to grant a six month grace period for the migration to SEPA instruments in the euro area, during which it would be allowed to continue to accept payments in the old format, the SEPA migration has gathered pace. According to the European Central Bank (ECB), the majority of businesses have completed the migration to SEPA and SEPA direct debit transactions in February 2014 were at 80.3% (January 2014: 60.2%) and already 649.82 million transactions (January 2014: 473.83 million transactions) have been processed in the new SEPA format.
General status of SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) in February
Slovenia (100%, January 2014: 100%) and Slovakia (100%, January 2014: 0%) lead the road, having fully completed their SDD migration.
Belgium (89.9%, January 2014: 61.4%), Ireland (89.7%, January 2014: 61.4%), Austria (87.9%, January 2014: 74.0%), the Netherlands (84.4%, January 2014: 73.6%) and Luxembourg (74.4%, January 2014: 49.1%) process most of their direct debits in the new SEPA format.
Italy (53.3%, January 2014: 34.3%), Portugal (53.1%, January 2014: 26.7%), Estonia (48.8%, January 2014: 15.3%) and Malta (47.8%, January 2014: 23.4%) are only about half way through with their migration.
In Germany, SEPA direct debits as a percentage of all direct debits submitted stands at only 53.4% (January 2014: 29.4%). This is due to one-off direct debits that are still being processed in the old national format, say in online trading.
Migrate to SEPA now
Altogether the SEPA migration has gathered momentum. Enough traction has been generated and there will not be a second grace period. For payment service providers and online merchants it is therefore crucial to migrate right now.
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