Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) (Communication)
When Euro notes and coins were introduced on January 1st 2002, this created a single payments area for cash transactions. For cashless payments like credit transfers, direct debits and card payments a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is currently being developed. In its communication the Commission presents the next measures that have to be taken by market participants in the period from 2009-2012 in order to ensure successful implementation of the SEPA-project. The Commission hints that by this amongst others it understands the full replacement of all established national payment schemes with SEPA-Schemes.
The Commission has no power to fix an SEPA Migration end-date from which on SEPA-Schemes are available only. In addition, the replacement of established national payment schemes reduces the individual freedom of choice. If SEPA products really have benefits for consumers and companies over and above established payment products, even in purely national transactions, then market forces will make this apparent. Open SEPA-Standards are to be welcomed, since non-proprietary standards enable product innovation und promote competition.