Sepa is not a compliance exercise

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BOSTON – More than 60% of payment professionals expect their payments business to look different by 2010, according to a new survey from SAP.

Respondents believe the EU Payment Service Directive (PSD) and the Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa) are catalysts for wide-ranging industry change that will provide business opportunities for standardising payment systems.

Some 39% of European banks are expected to have a single enterprise-wide payments hub by 2010 to build standardised interfaces to other systems that support all payment types. On the other hand, 48% will implement a shared platform for their payments business that will link together Sepa payment on a common infrastructure, but still maintain some separation.

The survey of 90 bank representatives across 13 eurozone countries, six non-eurozone EU members and Norway was conducted by financial news service Finextra, together with the Sepa Consultancy and SAP.

In other findings, 37% of respondents have yet to fully map out the implications of Sepa for their corporate customers, as they are still formulating their own strategies. More than 93% of respondents will have signed the Sepa Credit Transfer Adherence Agreement by January 2008. To support Sepa credit transfers, almost 87% of banks say they will be adopting the new XML message types but 32% will only use this for interbank transfers. This finding suggests there is a lack of demand from corporations for banks to support the XML message types, which could be due to a lack of awareness about Sepa from many corporations.

Most surprisingly, 15% of payment professionals do not understand the implications of PSD, but most respondents agreed that the directive is a catalyst for industry change. The remainder of the respondents (2%) sees the PSD as a tick-box requirement for achieving Sepa compliance.

“This snapshot of Sepa revealed that the nature of payments needs to change by 2010, but there still remains the uncertainty and inconsistency across the industry on how this change is going to happen,” says Marc Derungs, vice-president of banking at SAP. “An overall theme heard from the results is that the current payment systems are disparate – creating inefficiencies. Integrated payment systems can alleviate this challenge and not only support Sepa compliance, but also provide new and upcoming business opportunities.”

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