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SEPA means that individuals can transact electronic payments with Euro banks anywhere within the SEPA area (32 countries) as easily as within their own country. SEPA Direct Debits allows the debtor operate one bank account to pay for items in other countries. Eg. people with a holiday home in Spain can have their utility bills paid from their Irish bank account.
SEPA Direct Debits are designed in a manner which provides significant security to the debtor, encouraging him/her to avail of the direct debit service.
For private individuals, if a debit is processed which is in doubt, the debtor will be able to request a refund or amendment to the amount for up to 8 weeks after the processing date. The Creditor must refund or amend the amount without question. The debtor must quote the UMR (unique mandate reference) when requesting his/her bank to request the refund.
If there is a question over the validity of the mandate then the debtor can request a refund of transactions for up to 13 months following the transaction date. The debtor must prove that the direct debit should not have been paid. The transaction is deemed to be unauthorised if:
The debtor can request his/her bank to refuse a transaction up to close of business on the day before the transaction is due.
The ability of companies to operate across national boundaries within the Single Euro Processing Area facilitates greater competition with the expected reduction in prices to the consumer. Businesses can offer products or services in any country with the Euro and can collect payments from bank accounts in any country. While this may cause difficulties for Irish businesses, it also opens up opportunities for Irish businesses to offer their products for sale in other countries.
The SEPA initiative by the EU commenced in 2002 with the aim of allowing seamless transaction flow between banks within the Single Euro Payments Area ... More
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