SEPA Compliance – The end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?

Another key solution provider that Microsoft is proud to partner with at Sibos is Experian Payments, a leading provider of payments solutions for the European market.  To provide some more insight to Experian, their solutions and what to expect at Sibos I invited  Jonathan Williams of Experian Payments to share some thoughts.

Jon, thank you for taking some time to discuss some of the trends you see happening in the industry today. SEPA of course is a perennial topic in the payments industry. Even with Sibos being in Asia this year I am sure the European payments industry will still be a hot topic. What do you think?

This is the first Sibos since the long-awaited end data for the migration to SEPA was announced and I am expecting a lot of discussion around the technical challenges imposed by regulation; not related to internal bank systems, but those which affect how corporate customers interact with their bank(s). This is the first time that we know how far through the migration window we are and the numbers are sobering: we have used 79% of migration window for credit transfers which are less than 30% migrated. The story for direct debits is even more concerning: 70% of the way through and around 1% migrated with some countries yet to start in earnest.

I imagine that imposes some technology challenges and considerations….

There are certainly some issues from a technical and technology standpoint that need to be addressed, typically by corporates, which is why good and early communication from the industry is essential. Regulation 260 imposes changes on both corporates and banks. Corporates will need to provide only International Bank Account Numbers for SEPA transfers and those submitting bulk files must do so using ISO20022 compliant payment initiation formats; banks will need to make sure that corporates can do this and consider how they can help their customers, both retail and corporate, to get their data right. In addition both must considering how local issues may affect their existing payment usage such as which additional optional services they need.

However the first thing that corporates should consider now are the efficiencies that SEPA could give them by consolidating and centralising euro accounts. Time is running out for this review of systems corporates that start this process in the new year may find that they can’t find industry resource to help them out.

Will Experian be presenting a viewpoint or demonstrating solutions to these challenges at Sibos?

Experian will be talking about the issue of SEPA migration and incorrect data within domestic and cross-border, payments databases. Experian is working with a number of banks, consultancies, software vendors and service providers to address the challenge of migrating existing domestic account numbers such as Bankleitzahl and Kontonnummer in Germany, to SEPA IBANs.  Both corporates and banks can get help from specialists such as Experian to ensure that, as IBAN-only payments come in from 2014, they can have confidence business will continue.

Other than visiting Experian Payments at the Microsoft stand (ID03), how can people who may not be at Sibos also contact you to find out more about Experian and your payments solutions?

I’m delighted that you’re joining me in an Open Theatre session to discuss this topic and how Microsoft has taken positive steps to address it. One thing which is not well understood is that existing systems and banks fix incorrect account numbers as a matter of course, leaving the originator of the payment with no idea that its payments data are incorrect.

Can people make an appointment to meet you at Sibos?

I, or my colleagues Richard Harris and Mike Harrison, would be delighted to discuss the issues of data integrity or the other services that Experian can provide
including identity authentication and fraud prevention. Please drop by the Microsoft stand, contact one of us via the Sibos App to arrange an appointment
or engage us at the conference.

Jon, many thanks for your partnership and your time today, and I look forward to seeing you in Osaka!

Comments (1)
  1. Izia says:

    The European Union is, from its basis, an economic alliance. While some firms have already managed to implement the SEPA migration, most banks still have hardships and take too long. And why, because of data errors in what they should master above all: creating and providing IBAN numbers. This is what I have just read there (…/sepa-the-cost-of-incorrect-data) and I found it stunning.

    Is there any other explanation, or are most european banks just incompetent?

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