The SEPA mandate has been a reality in the Euro Zone since 2014, with the adoption of the Single Euro Payments Area, which has allowed payments with debit and credit cards, bank transfers and direct debits to be made more cheaply, efficiently and faster between EU countries.
In the next post we describe this policy and how organisations that must collect the signed consent of their payers to make payments, can go from paper to digital, with the help of the electronic signature.
This post is also available in Spanish.
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The SEPA mandates, a further step in European integration
Since the approval of EU Regulation 260/2012 payments made by credit card, bank transfer or direct debit in 34 countries (the 28 member countries of the EU, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland) follow the same standardised process.
The SEPA regulations represent a further step in the process of European market monetary integration, which started in 2002 with the introduction of Euro banknotes and coins. In the same way that it uses a single currency, the Single Payment Area in Euros will have a single set of instruments for electronic payments in retail operations.
With the SEPA Regulations the difference between domestic and international payments disappears. Citizens, companies and other economic actors can enjoy the same conditions, rights and obligations.
The SEPA regulations facilitate 39 billion worth of transactions
in 34 countries every year
But, what is the SEPA mandate?
It is the means by which a payer authorises and gives consent to the payee to:
(a) initiate payments by charging the account indicated by the payer
(b) authorises the charging of the sums presented from the payer's account by the payee's bank
The SEPA regulations, both a challenge and an opportunity for businesses
The 20 million companies operating in Europe enjoy the benefits of this payments policy, but also face big changes when it comes to acting as a payee.
Some of these changes are opportunities, for example, the possibility of consolidating their payment processes through a single common platform for the whole SEPA region, but also involves new obligations.
The mandate must be signed by the payer as the holder of the account being charged (or the person authorised by him/her to do so) prior to the collection of the sums owed, hence the importance of the signing being done in the simplest and quickest possible manner.
The mandate must also be stored by the payee for as long as it is in force, during the refund period, as well as during the periods established by the document conservation law, once it has been cancelled (13 months).
Validity of SEPA electronic mandates
The SEPA mandate document must contain the mandatory data required to identify the payment:
- the unique mandate reference,
- the name and address of the payer,
- the IBAN number,
- the name of the payee,
- the payee's identifier,
- the type of payment,
- the payer's signature and its date
- and clearly indicate that it is a SEPA direct debit mandate.
The content of the mandate is standardised and must be issued in the payer's language. The design of the mandate itself is not important. What matters is that it has been signed, not how the signature was done.
In fact, current legislation gives equal validity to the handwritten signature as to the advanced electronic signature in this regard.
To this end, the National Committee on Payments sponsored by the Bank of Spain published an agreement document on the various types of digital signatures, to provide guidelines for banks.
The Signaturit electronic signature
The speed of getting the mandate signed and the ability to store it in the cloud to be efficiently accessed at any time and from any place, are the advantages that the Signaturit advanced electronic signature offers to all those obliged to comply with SEPA regulations.
Our advanced electronic signature solution allows SEPA mandates to be signed from any device, with no obligation on the part of the signer to download any application. Once the signer has signed the mandate, he/she receives a copy automatically by email. And the original mandate is archived in the cloud, accessible at any time and place to whoever sent it to be signed.
Signaturit thereby offers the right solution with which signatures can be easily
and simply obtained, from any device and strictly complying with
the legislation covering the EU area.
Being a cloud solution, one can therefore store all SEPA mandates there and access them at any time and from any place. In this way, businesses can begin their journey towards the goal of becoming paperless, without investing in new infrastructure.
Our technology is an opportunity to digitalise an important part of many companies' activities, who have their natural market in Europe and that typically charge their clients by direct debit.
Video: How to send a document to sign with Signaturit directly from your email
Thanks to SEPA, all the operations in Euros made between the participating countries are subject to a single set of rules and conditions, so that they can be processed with the same ease, speed, safety and efficiency as they are within each of the national markets.
When you use our advanced electronic signature services, payers can sign SEPA mandates and contracts while enjoying the following benefits:
- A simple digital process that improves the client experience.
- Lower document management costs that provide economic benefits and time savings.
- A more effective sales process which improves performance and increases conversions
This post is also available in Spanish.