January 17, 2024


SEPA harmonizes cross-border payments across previously fragmented national European markets to create a single market for euro payments to any account located in the area. Payments in currencies other than euro are not covered by SEPA, and domestic payments in countries that have not adopted the euro use local schemes.

SEPA reduces the costs for cross-border euro payments within the area, with national and international payments treated equally, rather than international payments being subject to higher charges.

SEPA supports several types of bank transfers:

  • SEPA Credit Transfers allow funds to be transferred from one bank account to another. Payments made before the cutoff point are credited to the recipient on the next working day; otherwise payments can take up to 2 working days.
  • SEPA Instant Payment (also known as SEPA Instant Credit Transfer) transfers funds to the recipients within seconds.
  • Direct debits are supported by 2 schemes. SEPA direct debit Core (SDD Core) is targeted at consumers, and all banks offering SEPA payments must participate in this scheme. These direct debits require a mandate from the debtor, which authorizes the debtor to charge the creditor’s account. The second scheme, SDD B2B, is targeted at business users and banks are not obliged to participate in this scheme. Unlike SDD Core, B2B SDD requires a mandate to be submitted by both the creditor and debtor, and debtors may not request a refund once the amount has been debited from their account.

SEPA payments require the use of an IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and only apply to payments in euros within the area. When making a bank transfer, the transferor needs to supply the name and IBAN of the recipient.

In the case of direct debits, the payer needs to authorize the creditor to debit their account using a so-called mandate. In the case of consumer payments (e.g. for utilities, rent etc.), only the debtor needs to provide a mandate. In the case of direct debits made using SDD B2B, both the creditor and debtor need to submit a mandate.

Standard SEPA payments take 1-2 working days to be processed, depending on the time the payment was submitted. SEPA Instant Payments are processed within seconds.

The Single Euro Payments Area includes 36 countries. This includes all 27 members of the EU, the 4 members of EFTA, the United Kingdom, and the microstates of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City. All IBANs, which are require to make payments via SEPA, include a country code.

  • Andorra (AD)
  • Austria (AT)
  • Belgium (BE)
  • Bulgaria (BG)
  • Croatia (HR)
  • Cyprus (CY)
  • Czechia (CZ)
  • Denmark (DK)
  • Estonia (EE)
  • Finland (FI)
  • France (FR)
  • Germany (DE)
  • Greece (GR)
  • Hungary (HU)
  • Iceland (IS)
  • Ireland (IE)
  • Italy (IT)
  • Latvia (LV)
  • Liechtenstein (LI)
  • Lithuania (LT)
  • Luxembourg (LU)
  • Malta (MT)
  • Monaco (MC)
  • Netherlands (NL)
  • Norway (NO)
  • Poland (PL)
  • Portugal (PT)
  • Romania (RO)
  • San Marino (SM)
  • Slovakia (SK)
  • Slovenia (SI)
  • Spain (ES)
  • Sweden (SE)
  • Switzerland (CH)
  • United Kingdom (GB)
  • Vatican City (VA)