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The goal of SEPA is to optimise payment services. In support of this goal, the European Parliament adopted, among other legislative acts, Regulation (EU) 260/ 2012.

This Regulation, also known as SEPA end-date regulation, establishes a set of common standards, rules and practices for the execution of payment orders (credit transfers) and collections (direct debits) within the SEPA countries and determines the end-dates by which banks and businesses should adopt and implement specific technical requirements in order to operate within a single payments market.

The countries which are part of the jurisdictional scope of SEPA are the following:

European Union (EU) Euro Area countries (18 countries)

Austria            

Ireland                         

Malta

Belgium

Spain

The Netherlands

France

Italy

Portugal

Germany

Cyprus

Slovakia

Greece

Latvia

Slovenia

Estonia        

Luxembourg   

Finland

 

European Union (EU) Member States with currencies other than the euro (10 countries)

Bulgaria  

United Kingdom

Sweden

Denmark

Hungary

Czech Republic

Croatia

Poland

Lithuania

Romania

 

Non-EU countries

Switzerland          

Liechtenstein     

Norway

Iceland  

Monaco

For an updated list of SEPA Countries and Territories click here.

The benefits brought by SEPA to consumers, when these either make payments (payers) or receive payments (payees), are the following:

  • Convenient use
  • Automated procedure
  • Uniformity of technical rules


The Regulation requires the use of common standards and business practices throughout Europe. Indicatively, the following standards apply to SEPA payment orders:

  • IBAN: International Bank Account Number

For details on the , click here.


This number unambiguously identifies the credit institution and the account of a payee. Within SEPA, the use of IBAN becomes mandatory and is a prerequisite for the automated processing of payment orders.

  • BIC: Business Identifier Code:

International standardised code which uniquely identifies a financial institution anywhere in the world. A different naming for BIC is SWIFT Code.
The mandatory use of BIC for payment transactions within SEPA will end on 1.2.2016.

  • ISO 20022 XML Standard:

Standard format for the development of electronic financial messages, as defined by ISO, including the payments orders and direct debits in XML format, in accordance with the rules under the scope of the Regulation (U) 260/2012.

For access to the information concerning the articles of the Regulation through the official website of the Central Bank of Cyprus click here.

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