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Improving Processes through SEPA Direct Debit Migration

by Nevenka Šubelj, Financial Director, Petrol d.d.

As one of the largest billers in Slovenia, SEPA migration was a particularly significant project for Petrol d.d. due to the risk of damage to cash flow and customer relationships in the event of migration issues. A large proportion of incoming cash flows are through direct debits and it was therefore particularly important to ensure that the migration to SEPA Direct Debits (SDD) took place smoothly. In this article, Nevenka Šubelj, financial director, discusses the successful SEPA migration, but also emphasises how treasury has leveraged the opportunity that SEPA migration presents to improve process efficiency and enhance customer service.

An efficient approach to direct debits

Before the introduction of SEPA, we had an efficient process for managing around 40,000 direct debits each month via Bankart, Slovenia’s clearing system. This direct debit solution was particularly convenient for customers as they could manage all their direct debits (such as those for electricity, gas, water etc.) centrally through their banking provider. From Petrol’s perspective, however, there were some limitations to this solution, specifically around the process of requesting direct debits. As customers could set up direct debit mandates with their banks, we received a large number of requests from banks to set up new direct debits. As the banks did not necessarily have an automated process for setting up the direct debit mandate and submitting it to Petrol, the number of duplicate and incorrect requests was high, creating a significant administrative overhead and potentially damaging customer relationships.