Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (202)

Dara Calleary


202. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance if he is satisfied with progress made on the implementation of a single euro area payments scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24428/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The aim of the Single Euro Payments Area, SEPA, project is to create a single market for euro-denominated retail payments. SEPA is an EU initiative that will change the way that these payments are processed across Europe. SEPA will allow payment systems users to make euro-denominated retail electronic payments to payees located in any of the participating countries, using a single payment account and a single set of payment instruments (the participating countries are the EU member states, together with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Monaco). SEPA comes into full effect on 1 February 2014 and businesses will need to ensure that payroll, direct debit and accounting systems are SEPA-ready. SEPA will introduce new business rules in relation to retail electronic payments and implement common standards in all participating countries for issuing and executing the underlying payment instructions. SEPA will deliver tangible benefits to businesses, for example by allowing faster settlement and simplified processing will improve cash flow and reduce costs.

The implementation of SEPA within Ireland is overseen by the National Payments Plan, NPP, Steering Committee, which was established in 2012 to modernise the way payments are made in Ireland. In this regard, an NPP-SEPA sub-group has been formed, consisting of representatives of consumers, businesses, Government and banks. Officials from my Department are represented on this group which provides an avenue for the discussion of any issues that arise in the process of migrating to SEPA. Progress towards migration is being made and progress will continue to be monitored closely to ensure an efficient migration to SEPA. More information on SEPA can be found on the website www.readyforsepa.ie.