SEPA is part of the European harmonisation process which has lead, for example, to the common euro currency. SEPA, for its part, promotes freedom of movement and trade of EU citizens and European companies. Euro-denominated payments within the SEPA do not differ from domestic payments.
What is a SEPA payment?
SEPA credit transfer is a credit transfer in compliance with the European credit transfer standard that can be used for making any type of euro payments within the SEPA.
A SEPA credit transfer always includes the bank accounts of the payer and payee in the international IBAN format. IBAN (International Bank Account Number) is an international account number.
Banks operating in Finland have agreed on authentication of a domestic reference and its transfer to the payee in SEPA Credit Transfers.
What is SEPA instant credit transfer all about?
European banks have adopted SEPA instant credit transfer, which enables money to move between banks around the clock, on every day of the year. In the future, a euro-denominated payment confirmed on op.fi or OP-mobile will be transmitted from OP also to another bank in real time, whenever possible. Correspondingly, OP will also receive payments from other banks in real time. Real-time payment will be adopted in stages.
The condition for instant payment transmission is that also the other bank transmits payments in real time. Over half of SEPA banks are already participating, and during 2020 it is estimated that the service will be available in most banks, also in Finland.
Which countries form SEPA?
The SEPA area consists of the following 36 countries:
- EU member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
- EEA countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Monaco
- Andorra, San Marino, Vatican, Switzerland
Which banks participate in SEPA?
Almost all banks in the SEPA area, excluding investment banks, and all Finnish banks are included in SEPA.
What are SEPA services?
SEPA services include SEPA credit transfer, SEPA instant credit transfer and SEPA direct debit. SEPA credit transfer is a product offered by OP Financial Group.
Which currencies are included in SEPA?
SEPA services are always in euros.
Transfer speed of SEPA payments
Payment made as SEPA credit transfer must be made to the payee’s bank within the banking day following the payment order. The SEPA instant credit transfer must be available to the payee within 20 seconds of the acceptance of the payment.
Payment practices within SEPA
In Finland, payment transfers are of high quality by European standard and most payments are either credit transfers or card payments. Many individuals as well as businesses engaging in foreign trade are quite familiar with the acronyms IBAN and BIC.
On a European scale, SEPA has harmonised country-specific payment practices. While cheques and cash might still be widely used in some SEPA countries, people in Finland mostly use card payments and credit transfers. SEPA has narrowed the divergences in European payment practices since it enables efficient services functioning the same way in each SEPA country. Payments are transferred according to common rules and within a defined time frame.
SEPA for private customers
With SEPA payment you can make a payment to any SEPA country, also to Finland, as well as to OP Financial Group. You just need to have the payee's bank details in the international format.
There are no charges or costs for using SEPA payments.
SEPA for companies
The SEPA Instant Credit Transfer makes your company’s daily business easier. You can get money from other banks to your company’s account within a few seconds, around the clock, every day of the year. This will improve the liquidity management of companies because the arriving money is immediately available. Making payments too is going real time.
You should check how the processes or systems of your company could be changed so that you can make the most out of the real-time movement of your money.