by Vincent Couche, EMEA Corporate Product Sales, Citi, and Nasseira Rida, Head of Cash Management for France, Citi
On 29 January 2010, Orange Business Services stated that its X25 network would be decommissioned on 30 September 2011. This will impact most organisations with entities in France, as X25 is used for data exchange with their banks, as part of the ETEBAC protocol. French-standard file formats supported by ETEBAC will remain available, although organisations will have to migrate to XML-based formats to benefit entirely from SEPA.
With a 30-year track-record of file delivery, personal digital signatures, high availability, data security and near 100% market acceptance, ETEBAC was adopted by most entities of large organisations and this means approximately 95,000 entities from large multinationals to small and medium-sized enterprises have less than 12 months to re-evaluate and re-design their bank integration.
Alternatives to ETEBAC recommended by CFONB
The immediate alternatives to X25 for most organisations are the web-banking platforms offered by their banks, as these typically support the French-standard file formats and, with three million corporate organisations registered in France, electronic banking is the most popular means of communicating with a bank for bulk payments, domestic and cross-border wires, SEPA Credit Transfers, electronic bills of exchange, direct debits and bank account reporting. In addition to this service, the French Banking Federation, through its standardisation body (CFONB), also recommends either EBICS or SWIFTNet as alternatives to ETEBAC.