11:18 03 November 2009
Mobile European citizens including workers, students, holiday-home owners, tourists and retirees living abroad will be among those who will benefit from a hotly anticipated new direct debit scheme.
The European Payments Council (EPC), the coordination and decision-making body of the European banking industry in relation to payments, has unveiled the SEPA Core Direct Debit Scheme.
It means that for the first time ever, customers are now able to set up cross-border euro direct debit payments in 32 countries across Europe, ending the hassle of multiple accounts.
SEPA will empower 490 million citizens to rely on one home bank account and one bank card when making payments for all domestic and cross-border euro payments within and across the 27 EU member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Monaco.
This will be coupled with more highly competitive incentives on offer by regional banks.
Whether renting a holiday home in France or buying food supplies from Norway for your restaurant, the new changes are good news for any European citizens whose lives are found at least partially outside of one country, be it for business or pleasure.
Almost three-quarters (70%) of all banks that deal with Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) have already signed up to the schemes, with the remainder to join over the next 12 months.
Here to explain how the changes will help you is Gerard Hartsink, chair of the European Payments Council:
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