By Pete Rizzo (@pete_rizzo_)
The European Central Bank (ECB) released its second Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) migration report on October 24, providing an extensive overview of how various eurozone stakeholders are succeeding, and struggling, with the upcoming February 1, 2014, deadline for SEPA credit transfer (SCT) and SEPA direct debit (SDD) scheme migrations.
The ECB found that many key stakeholders have decided to migrate only in the last quarter of 2013 or later, and that this delay means that certain parties, most notably SEPA small business owners, aren’t likely to meet the deadline for this compliance.
The result, the report authors say, is that this approach will lead to operational risks and limit the possibility that any setbacks or unexpected developments will be tackled during the changeover.
“I have said this before and will repeat it: everybody has to be ready on [February 1, 2014] or risk disruptions in their individual handling of payment orders,” BenoÃ®t CÅ“uré, an ECB member, said in an October 24 statement. “Since our first migration report, we have been emphasising the fact that both payments providers and users are responsible for being sufficiently prepared. And our message to them is still the same: don’t leave it to the last minute.”
The report examined the migrations of payment service providers (PSPs), payment service users (PSUs) and small- and medium-sized business owners (SMEs) to zero-in on the specific parties that are not yet ready for an integrated electronic payments market.
For a closer look at these stakeholders and what’s holding them back, we break down the ECB’s “Second SEPA Migration Report” to learn more.
The Preparedness Of PSPs
The ECB found that PSPs will most likely be ready” with their SCT services upgrades by February 1, but that migrations are not yet complete in all countries. The same was suggested for SDD migrations, with notable exceptions.
Estonian PSPs are not expected to meet the deadline for their SDD migration. Ireland, France, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal and Slovakia are anticipated to be ready on time, but still are in the process of their migrations.
Preparedness Of Payment Service Users
In this section, the ECB analyzed the preparation of key PSU groups, including big billers, public administrators and SMEs.
The ECB found while billers have made some progress since the first migration report, only a minority of countries have fully completed their transitions. Billers were found to be more advanced in their SCT scheme migrations, and indicated that they felt that the legal deadline for SDD compliance was manageable.
Big billers in Germany saw a decline in preparedness for SDD core migrations, while France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands all saw improvements in their SDD migration. SCT migrations in all countries were either completed or on schedule.
Public administrators, the report noted, have taken the lead on SCT migrations and provided the whole market with further incentive to convert. Since they do not use direct debits, though, they have not been able to stimulate SDD conversions in the same manner.
Representatives from this demographic in all countries were on schedule for SCT migration, according to the study. Improvements in progress were most notable in Estonia, Cyprus and Portugal. Data was not available on SDD migrations in a number of studied countries. Of those featured, only German public administrators were in danger of not being completed on time.
SEPA SMEs were the most in danger of failing to meet the compliance deadline. The ECB determined that this was due to a low awareness among European SMEs of the migration and a lack of support from large software providers. The ECB stated that there was much to be done to raise awareness and preparation among the demographic, and that budget- and user-friendly solutions were in high demand.
SMEs in Germany, Estonia, Spain and France have not yet completed their SCT migrations and are not expected to meet the February 1 deadline. Likewise, SDD migration problems persisted in as Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, France and Luxemborg.
For more insight and analysis into which stakeholders could fall short of the upcoming February 1 deadline, download the full report here.