Just got an email from Charlie McCreey's office that announces the launch of SEPA Direct Debits (SDD), as covered here last Monday. Here's the official line:
"Cross-border direct debits and easier bank account switching now possible
"From the beginning of November, EU consumers will start to have the possibility to make regular payments using the new Single Euro Payments Area SEPA Direct Debit scheme, and should find it easier to switch their current account from one bank to another within their own Member State.
"The new SEPA Direct Debit scheme means that, for the first time, consumers and businesses will be able to make direct debit transactions between different countries in the euro area. Direct Debits are a convenient way for consumers to make recurring payments and an efficient method for companies to collect money such as bills for water, gas, electricity and telecom services as well for magazine and periodical subscriptions. Although direct debits are widely used in many euro area countries, at present, there is no pan-European scheme in place for making these payments possible across borders. Supporting the industry-led scheme are new EU rules on payment services and cross-border payments, in force as of 1 November, which are designed to ensure that SEPA Direct Debits will be as easy, efficient and secure as national schemes without being more expensive. Thousands of euro area banks have already signed up for the new scheme.
"The improvements in bank account switching are thanks to a set of 'Common Principles' adopted by the European Banking Industry Committee (EBIC) last year and have now been implemented in the Member States by the national banking associations. From now on, whenever consumers wish to switch their current account to another bank, the new bank will offer its assistance throughout the switching process."
Charlie McCreevy is then quoted as saying:
"Thanks to industry's efforts and a solid legal platform at EU level, direct debit payments can now be made between different countries in the euro area – good news for consumers, for businesses and for the economy as a whole.
"I am pleased that national banking associations have taken their self-regulatory agreement seriously and worked to ensure that the Common Principles on Bank Account Switching are ready to be applied by 1 November."
I would question some of the views here based upon the other official EU website, Euractiv, saying that banks and users have not bought into SEPA yet and our own research which demonstrates thaat the 'solid legal platform' is not solid at all.
But good on you for 'bigging it up' Charlie, as they say here in Chavland.