There has been a huge amount of work undertaken over 2013 and in the first half of 2014 to meet the SEPA deadlines, which could be argued that a lot of the work was short-term focused and tactical. Payment Services Providers (PSP’s) and Payment Services Users (PSU’s) may well believe they have completed their SEPA journey; however, my colleague Andrew McFarlane in Dublin and I have been discussing why this journey has only just commenced and is driving a new wave of payment transformation for the following reasons:

  • There was a widespread view that SEPA was a compliance project that needed to be completed with the minimum investment – in the main, companies and financial institutions wanted to meet the deadline with as little change as possible.
  • The SEPA scheme is evolving and being refined, and the next version of the SEPA rulebook for SCT and SDD is due to issue in November 2015 – this is likely to have a range of changes that scheme participants will need to adhere to.
  • We are now starting to see movement towards a global adherence to the ISO XML 20022 format as a standard for payment instructions – this will drive further change as this format is adopted.

Taking these factors into account, there is a further wave of Payments Transformation coming. For users of the payment services, we expect to see consolidation and rationalization of banking relationships, particularly for PSU’s that operate across multi-jurisdictions. Payment factories and driving large-scale payments from one bank account across Europe will become common, especially when CFO’s determine the savings and economies that can be gained.

For PSP’s, the challenge is to become the PSP of choice, should the customers wish to consolidate and rationalize their relationships. We will see a greater take-up of the SEPA Additional Optional Services (AOS) to offer customers potentially shorter SDD Core cycle times, and also to enable customers to avail of e-mandates.

So there are opportunities and challenges ahead, and this Point of View steps into the detail of these. Accenture have worked with many PSP’s and PSU’s on their original SEPA implementation, and we’re ready to continue working with our clients to help them with the next phase of their SEPA journey.

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