Thursday, January 09 11:56:21
The European Commission today said it has extended the lead-in period for the introduction of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) for a further six months to ensure minimal disruption for consumers and businesses.
The proposal does not change the formal deadline for migration to the new payments system.
"An efficient Single Market needs an efficient SEPA. The entire payments chain - consumers, banks, and businesses - will benefit from SEPA and its cheaper and faster payments. Cross-border payments are no longer exceptional events which is why an efficient cross-border regime is needed," Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said.
"As of today, migration rates for credit transfers and direct debits are not high enough to ensure a smooth transition to SEPA despite the important work already carried out by all involved. Therefore, I am proposing an additional transition period of 6 months for those payment services users who are yet to migrate. In practice this means the deadline for migration remains 1February but payments that differ from a SEPA format could continue to be accepted until 1August 2014," he added.
"I regret having to do this but it is necessary to counter the substantial risk of disruption to payments and detrimental consequences for individual consumers and SMEs in particular. I have warned many times that migration was happening too slowly and call once more on Member States to fully assume their responsibilities and accelerate and intensify efforts to migrate to SEPA so that all can enjoy its benefits, that is, faster and cheaper payments across Europe. The transition period will not be extended after August."