SEPA Readiness Thermometer - State of play with one year to go

In 12 months’ time, we will reach a major milestone in the journey towards a harmonised European payments market. As of 1 February 2014, national payment products denominated in euros in most European countries will be replaced by the SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Direct Debit, and national clearing houses will be integrated into a pan-European clearing infrastructure; transferring a euro amount across the SEPA area will be the same as transferring the amount in-country.

We surveyed organisations around the world to assess their SEPA readiness and found that many have an incomplete understanding of, and underestimate, what being 'SEPA-ready' entails. The fact that 55% of organisations are at risk of missing the February 2014 deadline, and that half of the respondents are not sure about their clients being able to comply, should sound some alarm bells with management.

This snapshot of the current ‘state of play’ not only aims to create a sense of urgency, but also provides practical guidance to create the required focus, and to make SEPA readiness a priority for this year for organisations with business denominated in euros.

Other key findings include:

  • 21.6% of respondents have yet to define and plan their SEPA readiness activities;
  • Few organisations have a comprehensive scope defined – for example, fewer than 30% of respondents include review and update of master data in their scope, and fewer than 20% involve HR, legal and sales departments in their projects. These statistics are even worse for those organisations that have yet to plan their SEPA-readiness activities.
  • 43.5% of respondents that have planned their readiness expect to complete their project uncomfortably close to the deadline of 1 February 2014.
  • 43% of respondents are not confident that the majority of their customers will be ready for SEPA in time.
  • 92% of respondents mention ‘systems readiness’ as their number one concern.

See also our key article on the findings in gtnews.