by Markus Straußfeld, Head of International Cash Management Sales, UniCredit
A six-month extension to the SEPA deadline should not stop firms from planning their next steps, but the foundations laid by SEPA provide ample opportunities to innovate both in the SEPA zone and further afield.
Ultimately, February 1 did not bring the end of all payments inconsistent with the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) format, thanks to an added six-month transaction period from the European Commission. But that date still brought the abolition of nationally-designated payment systems and marked the transition to the SEPA Credit Transfer and Direct Debit schemes. And even if most of the outdated payment types will be accepted through August 1, the deadline also held for some types such as Abbuchungsauftrag in Germany.
Even so, the extension remains welcome news for those running late in making all of the necessary changes. And this short breathing space also gives corporates an opportunity to look beyond August. While the next step for corporates – and life after SEPA – depends largely on their specific treasury strategies and operational structures, they need not consider compliance with the SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and Direct Debit (SDD) schemes to be the end of efficiency-creation in treasury management.