By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com
Companies in Europe underestimate the scope and effort of complying with the new Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) requirements by 1 February 2014. With one year to go before the payments markets in Europe integrate, PwC surveyed 293 respondents about their organisations’ readiness for the integration of payments markets in Europe.
Major findings of the survey, ‘SEPA Readiness Thermometer – State of play with one year to go’, include:
• 21.6% of respondents have yet to define and plan their SEPA readiness activities;
• Few organisations have a comprehensive scope defined – for example, fewer than 30% of respondents include review and update of master data in their scope, and fewer than 20% involve HR, legal and sales departments in their projects. These statistics are even worse for those organisations that have yet to plan their SEPA-readiness activities
• 43.5% of respondents that have planned their readiness expect to complete their project uncomfortably close to the deadline of 1 February 2014.
• 43% of respondents are not confident that the majority of their customers will be ready for SEPA in time.
• 92% of respondents mention ‘systems readiness’ as their number one concern
The SEPA project for a common European payments market is rapidly approaching an important milestone. As of 1 February, 2014 all ACH and direct debit instructions within in the EU and the European Economical Area denominated in euros have to comply with the SEPA standard.
This 2014 milestone brings an end to an era of dual-payment infrastructure for banks and clearing houses, which started on 28 January 2008 when the first SEPA credit transfers were processed. While 28 January 2008 was important for the payments industry itself, it had little impact on businesses and consumers.