The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is an initiative of the European banking industry that is intended to make all electronic payments in euros across the EU – e.g. by credit card, debit card, bank transfer or direct debit – as easy as domestic payments within one country are now. The SEPA project is strongly supported by the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB). The EU Payment Services Directive, and subsequent Regulations, provide the necessary legal framework for SEPA in the EU and EEA.
Talks between the three Crown Dependencies (Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man) and the European Payments Council (EPC) started 4 years ago about the possibility of banks in the Crown Dependencies participating in the SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) and SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) schemes run by the EPC (an industry body). Little progress was made in those talks, even though banks from certain other non-EU jurisdictions (eg Monaco) were admitted in the intervening period. In recent weeks officials from the three Crown Dependencies have held talks with the Commission and the ECB, supported by the Channel Islands and Isle of Man Brussels Offices, to discuss this issue. The Commission is expected to publish a Communication later this year on the overall governance of SEPA. It is hoped that talks with the EPC can resume after that.