Fragen und Antworten zum Thema SEPA
All your SEPA questions answered
Since 2008, the management of bank transfers within Germany and 28 other EU states and to Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Monaco, Switzerland and San Marino has been harmonised in the form of SEPA payment transactions.
The designation SEPA stands for “Single Euro Payments Area“. The aim of SEPA is to simplify domestic payment transactions and cross-border payments within the euro zone.
Up until now, there have been 28 different payment systems for conducting non-cash payment transactions within the European Union. These are now redundant. This has made making transactions within the internal market more efficient and standardised the process throughout Europe.
The new aspect is that consumers are now able to limit a direct debit to a specific sum, and that all of the direct debits received by a recipient can be blocked.
SEPA also offers considerable advantages to commercial operations. Irrespective of where the company is registered, it is able to select a favourably priced credit institution within the EU and thus jointly manage its non-cash payments and account.
According to EU Regulation No. 260/2012 (SEPA Regulation), 1st February 2014 was specified as the end date for the national payment processes for transfers and direct debits in the European Economic Area.
However, two transitional provisions will exist until 1st February 2016 that will simplify the changeover within Germany. According to these, consumers will be able to continue using their usual account number and sort code until the deadline and still use the electronic direct debit process for retail purchases.
It is true that the new “account numbers” and “sort codes” are considerably longer than the old ones. However, why not make use of our simple and convenient direct debit process. If you already are, the changeover to the SEPA payment process will take place automatically.
On the new bank transfer forms, you will be asked to provide your IBAN and BIC along with the recipient of the payment and the sum. These are now included on the transfer advice slip instead of the account number and sort code.
IBAN stands for “International Bank Account Number”. In other words, it is an international account number. It replaces your current account number.
The IBAN comprises an internationally and a nationally specified component. The first part is the international part, comprising a country identification code (e.g. DE for Germany) and a 2-digit check number. This number is designed to prevent incorrect transactions from taking place as a result of transposed digits. This is followed by the national part, which for Germany contains the sort code and the account number. The length of the IBAN can differ from country to country.
BIC stands for “Business Identifier Code” and it is either 8 or 11 digits long. This is standardised internationally and comparable to a sort code in Germany. The BIC is often also referred to as the SWIFT Code. The BIC is used as a unique identifier for credit institutions around the globe. The first four letters identify the bank. These are followed by a two-letter country code (e.g. DE for Germany). The next two positions indicate the location or region (e.g. FF for Frankfurt). The final letters represent the branch.
The bank details for REWAG KG are:
IBAN: DE79 7505 0000 0000 2113 00
Kreditinstitut: Sparkasse Regensburg
You can usually find the IBAN and BIC of your own bank on your bank statements or via online banking (e.g. under “My data”, “Account details” - or something similar). Newly issued credit cards and EC cards now also bear the IBAN and BIC.
If you would like to transfer a sum of money using a SEPA transfer to another payment account or current account, e.g. for the purpose of paying a bill, you can find the necessary account details (IBAN and BIC) on the commercial documents of your contractual partner or recipient of the payment (invoice or letterhead).
The SEPA direct debit mandate corresponds to what was a standing order. It is the legal basis for receiving SEPA direct debits. It includes the consent of the payer for the recipient to receive the SEPA direct debit, along with the instruction to the payer’s own credit institution to release the payment.
In order to be able to use direct debits as part of the SEPA direct debit process, the recipient of the payment requires a Creditor Identifier, i.e. a creditor identification number. This is a unique ID that is not linked to an account, but is used to identify the recipient of the payment as the entity submitting the direct debit.