SEPA and the Changing European Payments Landscape

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1 SEPA and the Changing European Payments Landscape finance.arvato.com

2 SEPA is Coming As you probably know by now, SEPA is coming, and it s coming soon. If you do business in the Eurozone, chances are your organisation is not yet SEPA ready European Payments Council (EPC) statistics show only 50% of credit transfers and 4.8% of Eurozone direct debits are currently SEPA-compliant. SEPA Deadline There is only a short time remaining to ensure SEPA compliance by the statutory February 2014 deadline. If your organisation previously adopted a wait-and-see approach then the time for urgent action is now. Feedback from early movers confirms that migration to SEPA results in tangible benefits. What is SEPA? The objective of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) programme is to harmonise payment services in Europe through the use of a single payments scheme, thereby facilitating increased competition and ultimately cost reduction. How it works In a nutshell, SEPA will enable corporates to make and receive payments to anyone in the region using a single bank account and a single set of payment instruments. SEPA affects 33 countries in total, both within and beyond the EU, and corporates in all these participating countries will observe a synchronisation of payments formats. SEPA is comprised of 3 pillars - SEPA Credit Transfers, SEPA Direct Debits, and the SEPA Cards Framework. It is estimated that the move to SEPA could save the EU economy between 50bn and 100bn per year. 33 countries affected by SEPA 515m citizens affected 50bn - 100bn potential annual savings to the EU economy 71.5bn electronic payment transactions annually 750m mandates could be converted to SEPA 4.8% 50% Implications of SEPA While the consumer is set to benefit from SEPA through increased competition and reduced costs, the implications for online merchants (and banks) is less clear-cut. While SEPA undoubtedly offers opportunities, migration will not be without its challenges. of eurozone direct debits are SEPA compliant of credit transfers are SEPA compliant arvato I Page 1

3 SEPA: Providing New Opportunities The good news is that SEPA has the potential to deliver efficiencies and opportunities for your organisation. Centralised Structure SEPA allows corporates to adopt a centralised structure for payments which can increase visibility and control over liquidity, leading to standardisation and improved efficiency. With a single payments process across Europe, corporates no longer need to have multiple bank accounts across the region. Instead, only one account is needed to handle all European-based transactions, increasing operational efficiency and speeding up settlement times. Furthermore, all European cash flows including domestic and cross-border payments will be considered and priced as domestic payments, meaning the potential savings SEPA offers will be significant. Opening up new markets Crucially, SEPA will also allow businesses the capability to expand its business across 33 countries, and a market of 515m people, without having to open new accounts, handle foreign currencies, or establish local banking relationships. In Europe, e-commerce currently accounts for just 3.4% of retail sales, lagging far behind US rates. Full SEPA adoption offers the opportunity to regain this lost ground. An opportunity to innovate We can see SEPA is the future for payments in Europe, but what about all those legacy direct debit mandates? Following consultation with the business community, the EPC has confirmed that legacy mandates will remain valid under the SEPA Core scheme (unless contrary to national law), helping to alleviate this key business concern. Any new direct debits put in place under SEPA must be backed by a compliant mandate as prescribed by SEPA. Provision for e-mandates Among the main opportunities of SEPA for online retailers is the provision for e-mandates. The SEPA scheme rulebook takes an agnostic approach to e-mandate payer authentication, stating only that Authentication is composed of personalised device(s) and/or set of procedures, including personalised security features and is used by the payer for the issuing, amendment or cancellation of an e-mandate. Potential for Innovation This broad definition paves the way for innovative solutions to be introduced. Surprisingly, given the obvious advantages of e-mandates, there is a relative dearth of e-mandate solutions on the market. To unlock the full potential of SEPA, online retailers must partner with a payment services provider that can offer a comprehensive e-mandate solution. e-mandates have many advantages over paper mandates and can provide potential cost, revenue, and security benefits: No printing and postage costs No manual handling of mandates required Quicker speed to revenue Decreased risk of customer drop-off, and increased Straight Through Processing (STP) Effort of printing, signing, and returning signed paper mandate not required from payer Lower fraud risk in comparision to paper mandates which are authenticated by payer signature. arvato I Page 2

4 Challenges The bad news is that becoming SEPA-ready can prove challenging. Many businesses will have to overhaul their payment systems and processes to comply with strict SEPA regulations. Corporates will be obliged to adopt the XML ISO standard which will replace the plethora of local standards across countries. Additionally, a complex set of deadlines are specified for processes including earliest collections and latest collections due dates, as well as prenotifications. A mandate management module which simplifies the scheduling and collection of direct debit payments can add real value to your business. BIC and IBAN Under SEPA, basic bank account numbers (or BBANs) will be replaced by BIC (Bank Identifier Code) and IBAN (International Bank Account Number) as the only permissible account identifier for SEPA transactions. This transition from BBAN to IBAN has been identified as a major concern for many corporates. While the move to IBAN may lead to increased security (through standardised validation techniques) and consistency in the long-term, it can also pose shortterm revenue risks to your business as bad/out-of-date payer data leads to failed payments. Local idiosyncrasies, such as the absence of bank codes in the Netherlands, can also pose challenges. An experienced payment services provider can assist with the careful planning and testing needed to ensure your customers experience a seamless transition to BIC and IBAN. According to a 2012 European Commission Report on cyber-security 1 29% of internet users across the EU are not confident about their ability to use the internet for things like online banking or buying things online Deadlines Pre-notification at least 14 calendar days before due date (or as agreed between merchant and payer) Earliest collections no earlier than 14 calendar days before due date Latest collections (one off and first in a series of recurrent) - at least 5 inter-bank business days before the due date Latest collections (subsequent recurrent) - at least 2 inter-bank business days before the due date Refunds Under SEPA DD, payers are entitled to a refund on a no-questions-asked basis within eight weeks of the debit date. This will be a challenging development for many online merchants, although it will eventually help foster much needed confidence in e-commerce among the general public. 1Cyber Security Report Special Eurobarometer 390 / Wave EB77.2 TNS Opinion & Social, July 2012 arvato I Page 3

5 Challenges posed by SEPA direct debit core vs. SEPA direct debit B2B SEPA DD Core SEPA DD B2B General Mandatory scheme for C2B and B2B collections Optional scheme for B2B only Revocability and Claims Payer claim back funds collected up to 8 weeks Payer can claim back funds without a mandate up to 13 months No entitlement to obtain refund of an authorised transaction Value Date Cycles D - 5 for first collection / oneoff collections D - 2 after the first collection D + 5 for returns D - 1 for first collection / oneoff collections D - 1 after the first collection D + 2 for returns Mandates are the responsibility of the merchant (must hold signed mandate) Unique Mandate Reference number required Mandate Rules Legacy mandate can migrate to SEPA DD Core New mandates required for SEPA DD B2B Payer must lodge mandate with payer s bank (or bank will refuse DD) Other Unique identifier (CI) for each legal entity 4 collection types (one-off, first, recurrent, final) New fields: signing date, scheme, collection type. 14 days notice to payer arvato I Page 4

6 Localisation: A Barrier to Opportunities With over 20 languages being spoken within the SEPA zone, adapting your business processes will be crucial. SEPA direct debit requires that mandates be presented in the local language of the payer information which many businesses do not currently capture. This task is made more complex in countries with multiple official languages. Belgium, for example, has 3 official languages - French, Flemish, and German. The mandate may be offered in English if the local language cannot be established, although this will have a negative impact on the customer experience and should be considered a last resort. Languages of SEPA Countries Bulgarian Italian Croatian Latvian Czech Lithuanian Danish Maltese Dutch Norwegian English Polish Estonian Portuguese Finnish Romanian Flemish Slovakian French Slovenian German Spanish Greek Swedish Icelandic Customer Communications e-commerce players with a commitment to quality customer service can find themselves with a wide range of localisation and translation requirements. When ancillary communications are factored in (may include mandate rejected notifications, outstanding mandate reminders, or penny drop reminders), these requirements can quickly multiply. Localisation Online retailers wishing to capitalise on SEPA by expanding into new territories should consider whether localised paypages are required for these new markets. The introduction of local payment methods can help further differentiate your brand. As less than 9% of Europeans are currently buying online from retailers located in other countries, any available stimuli of cross-border trade should be exploited fully. Language requirements can prove costly and put a drain on already scarce resources. Outsourcing the solution can enable your business to focus on its core competencies while taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by SEPA. arvato I Page 5

7 Harnessing the Potential The way to get maximum value from SEPA is to consider how it can integrate into existing solutions, evolving them into platforms that match what customers and businesses are looking for today and tomorrow. The SEPA Task Force, set up by arvato, has worked with our global customers, to develop innovative, effective solutions that will enable them to meet the February 2014 deadline, keep transaction costs low and ensure their customers continue to receive the very best experience. By integrating into existing platforms and keeping customers needs front-of-mind arvato believes SEPA Direct Debit will re-invigorates interest in Direct Debit payment option and offers organizatons easy access to additional European markets with little set-up costs, additional bank accounts etc.. Additional benefits include: Security when payments are revoked; Streamlined processes; Offers loyalty between payer and payee, as it sets up a secure payment relationship which encourages repeat purchases. Taking up the challenge Maintaining high adoption rates for SEPA will be a challenge, so it s important that the solutions in place are flexible enough to adapt and evolve to suit changing customer purchasing demands. Undoubtedly, those companies who can work collaboratively with payment industry experts to understand the ways in which their customers and the payment market will develop, and look at innovative ways of harnessing so-called requirements, will turn them to their advantage. arvato I Page 6

8 Next Steps for SEPA Readiness SEPA has the potential to transform e-commerce. Forward-planning leaders will strive to go beyond mere SEPA-compliance by offering a range of additional value-add services to their customers. Non-compliance is not an option it will result in reputational and operational risks, as well as financial penalties. Formulating a SEPA Migration Plan A European Central Bank (ECB) survey of businesses showed that 46% have made no plans as yet to make use of SEPA services 1. If your business has yet to formulate a SEPA migration plan, your next step should be establishing a multi-disciplinary project team to determine your requirements. Your HR, Treasury, Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable, Payment Factory, Project Management, and Customer and Vendor Relations divisions should all be engaged. Six Steps to Compliance 1. Bank Connectivity and Back End Ensure that bank connectivity is SEPA-compliant - Ability to produce XML format - Ability to receive reports in XML Ensure that back end system is SEPA-compliant: - Ability to store BIC and IBAN details - Adjust timings for collections 3. Mandate Management Migrate existing mandates for Core Scheme - Enrich mandate information - Assign unique mandate references Create new mandates for B2B Scheme - Generate new mandates - Assign unique mandate references Maintain a mandate database 4. Creditor Identifier Obtain Creditor Identifier - One CI can be used for several accounts in the same country - Individual CIs may be needed for different countries 5. Customer Communications Define customer communication strategy - Notify customers of the migration to SEPA direct debit - Notifications (collection notifications, rejections, refunds) 6. Testing and Implementation Allow time for a testing phase in the migration phase Phased transition of flows: - Market readiness - Volumes 2. BIC and IBAN Obtain BIC and IBAN details from payers - External vendors can provide conversion of existing details (BBAN) to the new format. Validate Data - Implement algorithms to ensure that data sent to banks for processing is valid arvato I Page 7 1 EBTP SEPA survey 2011

9 SEPA at arvato arvato s strong footing in Europe gives us a significant advantage in providing coordinated SEPA solutions. Our solution provides: Pan-European reach: A network of offices across Europe, with extensive payments capabilities. We can help manage and centralize payments from many locations across Europe. Thought Leadership and Expertise: We will keep our clients informed on the latest SEPA market news and derogation announcements. Dedicated Support: A dedicated arvato team is available to advise our clients at every stage of the migration journey, whether it is at a country, regional or global level. State of The Art Technology: We have invested in SEPA compliant payment systems and can deliver payment services through a wide range of our bestin-breed electronic channels. finance.arvato.com

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