Belgium Proves SEPA Is Achievable

Maybe it’s the proximity to all those European technocrats or good government planning, but Belgium appears as the exception when it comes to the adoption of SEPA guidelines.

In 2008 the Belgian Council of Ministers approved the gradual introduction of SEPA Credit Transfers (SCT) in the public sector so that by January 2009 all credit transfers in the public sector would comply with SEPA standards. The tax services also sent Belgian citizens their tax payment forms with a SCT from attached. It is the only country in the European Union to have done this. Also in 2008, the Belgian Steering Committee on the Future Means of Payment got relevant stakeholders involved – public sector, businesses, consumers, and banks – to discuss the implementation of SEPA together. It also created a position for a SEPA program manager, who supervises the country’s implementation efforts.

Again in the same year, the banking industry, the Federal Government and the business sector rolled out a communication campaign to create SEPA public awareness in the country. This has resulted in incredible adoption numbers ever since. In July 2012 SEPA Credit Transfers had a 58% share in the country, compared to euro area’s average of 38%. The share of SEPA Direct Debits passed the 15% mark while in the euro area it remained at just over 1%.

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