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SEPA

General overview of SEPA

SEPA is the European area within which payment methods are being harmonised.

So economic agents in the SEPA zone (companies, traders, individuals, public authorities) will be able to carry out payments in euro within this area as easily as they can in their own country.

The SEPA zone
Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Poland
Portugal
Romania
The Netherlands
The United Kingdom
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden

The SEPA zone includes 37 countries:

  • The 28 member states of the EU
  • Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (members of the European Free Trade Association)
  • Switzerland
  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man

SEPA advantages

The aim of the SEPA project is to create "an integrated retail payments market which is competitive and innovative, for all payments in euro" (European Central Bank, 2006).


By offering technical, legal and price structures which are similar in all the countries in the zone, SEPA makes it possible to:

  • Simplify payments handling
  • Reduce processing costs, thanks to the introduction of common standards
  • Reduce bank charges by creating greater competition between players within the zone
  • Speed up payments
  • Make cross-border transfers easier