Across the SEPA zone, payment formats are now standardised making it easier and quicker to send and receive payments and if for businesses making cross border electronic payments, the potential for streamlining and integrating your payment systems and cross border reconciliations.
SEPA payments must be at the same cost as domestic payments which may mean cost savings for businesses that process payments across SEPA.
For businesses the main impacts are:
- The use of BIC and IBAN instead of the current National Sort Code (NSC) and bank account number
- Bulk payment files will be in a new format which is known as ISO 20022 XML
- Direct Debit Mandate management is the responsibility of the originator (Creditor)
Icon expand The use of BIC and IBAN
Changes have been introduced under the SEPA regulation, allowing SEPA payments to be sent with or without a BIC.
Bank Identifier Code: This identifies Ulster Bank as your bank, and there is a corresponding code to identify the bank to which you want to send money, or from which you want to draw a direct debit. In some instances it may also be referred to as a Business Identifier Code.
Ulster Bank’s BIC is ULSBIE2D
International Bank Account Number: This is the internationally accepted format for identifying bank accounts. It will be used in future to identify your bank account for the purpose of making or receiving electronic payments.
98 12 34 12345 678
Ulster Bank and the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) have arranged a service to convert existing bank sort codes and account numbers to the new BIC and IBAN format.
This service, which is free of charge, will convert both bulk and one-off account details.
Find out more about BIC & IBAN information
Icon expand How SEPA Impacts Direct Debit Originators
There are the new responsibilities for businesses that receive payment by Direct Debit such as;
Take control of Mandate/Instruction management
- Use a Direct Debit mandate which complies with the SEPA standards. An example of the new SEPA format is available from the SEPA Direct Debit Core Scheme Guide.
- Ensure each Direct Debit Mandate has a “Unique Mandate Reference” code that you must submit with every collection involving that mandate. This a unique reference, which will be used by both parties, that identifies each mandate signed by the debtor for any given creditor.
- Retain all original Direct Debit Mandates and ensure they are retained after expiry, for a period of two years from the date of the last collection.
- Ensure any amendments to a Direct Debit mandate are stored by your business and that these amendments are included in any subsequent collections to Ulster Bank.
- Send the Direct Debit Mandate details electronically with each payment file to the Bank.
Before you send a payment file…....
- Ensure you use your new Creditor Identifier (CID) number when submitting a payment file to the Bank, which is available from your bank, or the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI). (This only applies for DD claims).
- Pre-notify payers in advance of a debit on their account at least 14 calendar days before collecting a payment or as agreed with the debtor.
- Meet file submission deadlines.
- The use of the sequence type 'First' (FRST) in the first of a recurrent series of SDD Core collections is no longer mandatory: meaning that an actual first collection can be presented in the same way as a subsequent collection, with the sequence type 'Recurrent' (RCUR).
- With effect from 21st November 2016 we introduced improved file submission times and you will now have up until 14:00 on D-1 days for all direct debits to submit your files.
- We would advise however that you do not need to change your submission times as availing of this timeline is optional
- Allow the payer's bank up to five days from the agreed debit date to return a payment that they could not execute (e.g. due to insufficient funds).
- Ensure that any instructions issued by you to the Bank to reverse a Direct Debit payment are made within five days of the amount being debited from the payer's account.
- Allow the payer’s bank up to five days from the agreed debit date to return a payment that they could not execute (e.g. due to insufficient funds).
- Ensure that any instructions issued by you to the Bank to reverse a Direct Debit payment are made within five days of the amount being debited from the payer’s account.
- Allow the payer’s bank up to the debit date to reject or refuse a Direct Debit payment.
Icon expand What are the additional rights SEPA gives customers?
- Allows payers the right to limit a Direct Debit collection to a certain amount or certain frequency or both.
- Allows payers the right to a “no questions asked” refund for authorised SDD payments where it is requested within eight weeks from the date the amount was debited from the payer’s account. This may have credit and risk implications for you as you may need to have additional funds in your account to cover any refund claims that are made by your customers/payers. If there are insufficient funds in the account it may result in an unauthorised overdraft on your account.