One of the most important lacking features to complete the European Internal Market in financial services is harmonisation of payment systems. The current state of affairs, with 27 different national systems, works as a barrier for the Internal Market and causes unnecessary additional costs for companies and consumers. Moreover, it reduces the growth potential and the economic welfare of Europe.
Even more importantly, the benefits of a single currency within the Euro Area cannot be reaped without workable and well functioning payment systems in place, which serves the whole Euro Area.
Therefore, UEAPME welcomed all initiatives from the European Commission, the financial services sector, the European Central Bank and other involved stakeholders to create a “Single Euro Payments Area – SEPA” as of the beginning of 2008. Europe’s SMEs see SEPA as an important step towards the completion of the Internal Market, but have warned several times that such a step has to be well prepared, must meet the practical needs of enterprises and provide – at least in the long run - positive incentives for all market participants.
Position papers and other documents
New regulation on interchange fees for card-based payment instruments will reduce costs for SMEs accepting card-payments
Joint Letter: Trilogue negotiation on Interchange fees for card-based payment transactions
MIF Regulation: Payment users call for transparent card fees
Stakeholder Alliance joint position paper on MIF
Joint Letter on Establishment of the Euro Retail Payments Board
European Payment Users Alliance Joint Stakeholders Statement on Payments Package
July 2012: Payment Systems End Users Committee: letter to DG Markt and ECB on SEPA Council / stakeholder representation
September 2011: Payment Systems End Users Committee: position paper on SEPA governance
April 2011: Payment Systems End Users Committee: Letter to MEPs on the proposal for a regulation on technical requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euros
June 2010: Joint EuroCommerce, BEUC, EACT, UEAPME comments on SEPA migration end-date working paper
April 2010: Payment Systems End Users Committee: Comments on SEPA migration end-date discussion paper
April 2010: Payment Systems End Users Committee: Comments on SEPA Governance paper
January 2010: Payment Systems End Users Committee: letter to the European Payments Council
October 2009: Payment Systems End Users Committee: Position paper on SEPA direct debit
(also available in German and French) (UPDATED)
March 2009: Payment Systems End Users Committee: SEPA position paper outline
UEAPME comments on "Completing SEPA: a framework for action 2009-2012"
Single Euro Payments Area – SEPA: Needs, Opportunities and Threats for Crafts and SMEs
SEPA users give guarded welcome to EU-wide direct debit
SEPA risks failure unless corrections are made, say end users
SEPA not yet mature enough to be used by SMEs
Better cross-border payment services should not come at SMEs’ expenses
Transition measures are key to the success of new payments regime