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Fast Track to SEPA Migration in Slovakia

by Marcela Výbohová, General Manager, Payments Division, CSOB

W ith adoption of the euro taking place in 2009, Slovakia is one of the most recent countries to join the single European currency, which includes adopting the Payment Services Directive (PSD) and the planned migration to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) payment instruments. Migration to SEPA payment products is already under way in many European countries, with banks and corporates alike in the latter stages of preparation and in some cases migration, but with later euro adoption, transition plans in Slovakia are at a later stage of development. This article looks at the status of migration to SEPA in Slovakia and some of the opportunities and challenges that it presents for businesses located in the country.

Banks in Slovakia are making active preparations for migration within an aggressive timescale.

Preparing for migration

Banks in Slovakia are making active preparations for migration within an aggressive timescale. The National Bank of Slovakia is spearheading these efforts by publishing migration guides that will enable commercial banks to migrate processes and technology to support the new instruments. Banks such as ˜CSOB, KBC’s subsidiary in the Slovak republic, is proactively analysing, preparing and implementing changes to its own systems and processes to facilitate migration to SEPA. While the official deadline for SCT migration is February 2013, we are on target to support SEPA-based clearing by end 2012, a far shorter time than most countries have enjoyed.

SCT progress

Introducing SCT represents a more straightforward proposition than SDD, and consequently, the project to develop and support SCT is further advanced. The SCT (see box) is not fundamentally different from the existing domestic credit transfer, with the same pricing and value dating, although the technical standards (i.e., ISO 20022 formats) have not yet been introduced. As the requirements of the PSD (figure 1) have already been implemented, pricing of domestic and cross-border payments is now consistent. In reality, this has already had a significant impact on companies operating internationally, even before the SEPA payment products have been introduced, as cross-border transaction costs are reduced.