(Single Euro Payments Area).


Since the introduction of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) in January 2008, you have been able to make standardised transfers and card payments Following the introduction of the SEPA Direct Debit on 2 November 2009, the range of SEPA methods is complete:

  • SEPA Credit Transfer
  • SEPA Core Direct Debit and SEPA B2B Direct Debit
  • SEPA Card Payments

The Single Euro Payments Area includes the 28 EU states, the three EEA countries Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein as well as Switzerland, Monaco and San Marino.




Benefits of SEPA in general

  • Common payment methods and formats for all transactions within the SEPA member states.
  • Possibility of consolidating Euro payment transactions in one account.
  • End-to-end message standard allows for automated allocation of order and payment.
  • All transactions in the SEPA area use the common XML data record format.
  • You can also reduce your customer data management workload: with SEPA, all of your European business partners have common data such as IBAN and BIC.

Benefits of the SEPA Credit Transfer

  • Significant reduction in length of time for cross-border payments in the SEPA area. Since 1 January 2012, the period has been reduced to one bank working day.
  • Improved comparability and elimination of barriers to competition.

Benefits of the SEPA Direct Debit

  • Stipulation of a concrete due date for improved liquidity management.

Benefits of SEPA Card Payments

  • Cash withdrawals at any ATM in the SEPA area.
  • Acceptance of debit cards at your company: participating in a SEPA-compatible card payment method, such as electronic cash, means that all European customers will be able to make cashless payments to you.



SEPA Credit Transfer

Adjustment of financial accounting systems.

  • Adjustment of interfaces to XML format.
  • Capturing and updating of IBAN and BIC.
  • Expansion of electronic banking software to include the Electronic Banking Internet Communication Standard (EBICS) data transfer protocol.

SEPA Direct Debit

Application to Deutsche Bundesbank for a creditor identifier for Germany.

  • Independent allocation of a mandate reference.
  • Obtaining mandate from your customers.

SEPA Cards

  • EMV compatibility of POS terminals.

You can continue to use all current software solutions (e.g. SFirm).

The new SEPA method has been offered as an additional service since January 2008. The software providers have been informed about the specifications of the SEPA method and have undertaken to provide SEPA compatibility.

SEPA data format

For the submission and settlement of voucherless SEPA Credit Transfers and Direct Debits there is a new, Europe-wide and future-proof XML-based data format. The DTAUS format used in Germany does not support SEPA payments. The SEPA data format is based on ISO Standard 20022 in the form of XML files (eXtensible Markup Language). The precise specifications of the SEPA data format can be downloaded from

Your adviser for payment solutions will be pleased to inform you about SEPA.
Phone +49 711 127-46565


Landesbank Baden-Württemberg
Electronic Banking Hotline
Tel.: +49 711 127-46565
Fax: +49 711 127-45511

In case of questions, suggestions, and blocking of remote data transmission accesses.

Monday - Friday 8 am - 5 pm

SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT).


Overview of key features

  • Euro credit transfers for domestic and cross-border payments in SEPA.
  • Account identification exclusively via IBAN and BIC.
  • The currency is always the euro.
  • Transfer of full original amount.
  • Fee provision: each party pays the relevant fees for his/her own bank (share).
  • Since 1 January 2012, the period has been reduced to one bank working day.
  • No limit on amount transferred.
  • Reporting threshold over EUR 12,500 in accordance with German Ordinance on Foreign Trade and Payments (AWV) remains in place (form Z4).

Landesbank Baden-Württemberg
Electronic Banking Hotline
Tel.: +49 711 127-46565
Fax: +49 711 127-45511

In case of questions, suggestions, and blocking of remote data transmission accesses.

Monday - Friday 8 am - 5 pm

SEPA Direct Debit (SDD).


The SEPA Direct Debit is a uniform Europe-wide direct debit procedure. SEPA Direct Debit allows you to minimise your cost and effort in terms of settlement, data format using a common legal basis.

Overview of key features

  • Uniform Europe-wide direct debit (also domestic).
  • Use of IBAN and BIC.
  • Due date must be specified.
  • SEPA Direct Debit mandate: authorisation for creditor and paying agent.
  • Unequivocal identification of the party submitting the direct debit: SEPA creditor identifier (CI).

SEPA Core Direct Debit / Special features

  • For authorised SEPA Direct Debits, the payer has a refund right for an eight-week period from the debiting of his/her account.
  • Additionally, from November 2013 the SEPA basic direct debit (COR1) within Germany with a shortened submission time limit. Therefore, the template will reach the redeeming bank just one day before it is due.

SEPA B2B Direct Debit / Special features

  • No entitlement to refund.
  • The payee or payer must submit the mandate to the payer's bank.
  • The payer must not be a consumer.

SEPA Direct Debit mandate

This authorises the payee to collect the amount due from the payer and instructs the payer's bank to honour the direct debit. The mandate remains valid until it is cancelled by the payer. However, the mandate expires after 36 months if no collection is made and a new mandate must be resubmitted. The period is mandatory and must be observed by the recipient in particular.

Mandate reference

Each direct debit mandate has a mandate reference number (max. 35 characters) that is allocated by the party submitting the direct debit.

To use SEPA Direct Debit, you will be required to convert any direct debit mandates you have already received to the new mandate format.

Sample forms for the various mandates are available at

Mandate requests (only for SEPA Core Direct Debit)

If the debtor wants a refund after the end of the 8-week period, the "mandate request" procedure must be carried out by the banks involved. The debtor bank must pass on the request by SWIFT, e-mail, fax or in some other agreed way to the creditor bank.

SEPA creditor identifier (CI)

The creditor identifier must be added to each direct debit mandate. This is used to unequivocally identify the party submitting the mandate. The creditor identifier is used uniformly throughout SEPA and is composed as follows for Germany:

DE 02 ZZZ 01234567890

  • Characters 1-2: ISO country code for Germany (DE).
  • Characters 3-4: check digits.
  • Characters 5-7: creditor business code, which may be filled by the creditor using any alphanumeric characters as an identifier for individual business units or branches. These three characters are filled with the letters "ZZZ" as standard.
  • Characters 8-18: national identification code for the creditor. Until further notice, the eighth character is always "0".

The length of the creditor identifier varies from country to country, but is limited to a maximum of 35 characters. The creditor identifier for Germany always has 18 characters.

You can apply directly to Deutsche Bundesbank electronically for your SEPA creditor identifier:

To receive a CI, the creditor's main residence or main place of business must be in Germany.


Landesbank Baden-Württemberg
Electronic Banking Hotline
Tel.: +49 711 127-46565
Fax: +49 711 127-45511

In case of questions, suggestions, and blocking of remote data transmission accesses.

Monday - Friday 8 am - 5 pm

SEPA Cards Framework (SCF).


Overview of key features

  • Pay across Europe with any card at any terminal
  • Withdraw cash at any ATM in the SEPA area

Card payments in the Single Euro Payments Area are increasing considerably. In the Euro currency area, the number of bank cards currently in circulation exceeds 350 million.

Technologies uniformly deployed across Europe, e.g. the chip on the card and PIN authorisation for payment, guarantee the highest possible level of security.

Since 2008, it has been possible to withdraw money from any ATM or to pay at any retailer terminal in the member states using any bank card. Our cards now bear the girocard logo . girocard comprises the two debit card payment systems, "electronic cash” and the ATM System of the German Banking Industry.


Landesbank Baden-Württemberg
Electronic Banking Hotline
Tel.: +49 711 127-46565
Fax: +49 711 127-45511

In case of questions, suggestions, and blocking of remote data transmission accesses.

Monday - Friday 8 am - 5 pm

Conversion of account no./sort code to IBAN/BIC.


For SEPA payments, accounts are identified exclusively via IBAN and BIC. Since July 2008, we have offered you two central software solutions developed specifically for corporate customers:

  • SEPA Account Converter, for corporate customers of the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe.
  • IBAN Portal, a non-bank-specific portal for all corporate customers.

A uniform data record description is required in order to use the IBAN out/IBAN in procedure. The data record description and access to the software solutions can be obtained from your expert advisor for payment transaction solutions: +49 711 127-46565


Landesbank Baden-Württemberg
Electronic Banking Hotline
Tel.: +49 711 127-46565
Fax: +49 711 127-45511

In case of questions, suggestions, and blocking of remote data transmission accesses.

Monday - Friday 8 am - 5 pm



Here are the answers to some frequent questions relating to SEPA.


What countries are taking part in SEPA?


The 28 EU member states, the three EEA countries of Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, Monaco and San Marino.

Important: SEPA can only be used for payments in Euro.

CountryISO Code Member of
Czech RepublicCZEU
Finland incl. AlandFIEU
France incl. Martinique (MQ), Guadeloupe (GP), French-Guyana (GF), Réunion (RE)FREU
Great Britain incl. Gibraltar (GI) GBEU
NetherlandsNL EU
Portugal incl. Azores, MadeiraPTEU
San MarinoSM--
Spain incl. Canary Islands, Ceuta, MelillaESEU

How many characters does SEPA allow in the reference field?


All SEPA payment orders allow a maximum of 140 characters in the reference field.


How can I recognise from my statement whether a transaction is a SEPA payment?


SEPA payments mostly contain the word "SEPA” in the entry description. The client/recipient data (incoming/outgoing payments) is disclosed via BIC and IBAN. All entry information is characterised by an identifier at the start of the line, e.g. SVWZ+ (SEPA reason for payment), KREF+ (presenter reference), EREF+ (customer reference), CRED+ (creditor identifier), MREF+ (mandate reference), ABWA+ and ABWE+ (differing client/recipient).


Will there be any changes to MT940 statements as a result of SEPA?


The introduction of SEPA has resulted in changes to MT940 statements. These changes primarily relate to the transaction code and the structured reason for payment. The specifications can be downloaded at


Do I need to make any changes to my payment software?


You can continue to use all current software solutions (e. g. SFirm). The new SEPA method is supplementary. Software providers have been informed about the SEPA specifications and provide the current SEPA method.


Do the changes resulting from SEPA also affect the business portal?


All existing functions and layouts remain in place. Since 28 January 2008, you have also had the option of transmitting SEPA Credit Transfer data in the business portal, and you will be able to transmit SEPA Direct Debit data since 2 November 2009.


Does SEPA entail any changes in reporting requirements?


As the SEPA format does not contain fields for AWV notifications, the corresponding notification for SEPA Credit Transfers in excess over €12,500 must be submitted to Deutsche Bundesbank.


When will you support SEPA Direct Debits?


We have offered SEPA Core and B2B Direct Debits since 2 November 2009.


What is the SEPA creditor identifier and how can I obtain one?


The SEPA creditor identifier (CI) is a single number valid across Europe that unequivocally identifies the submitter of a SEPA Direct Debit. Parties submitting SEPA Direct Debits require this 18-character alphanumeric string, as any orders submitted will not be processed without it.

The SEPA creditor identifier in conjunction with the mandate reference number allows a mandate to be identified unequivocally. This means that, when a SEPA Direct Debit is presented, the debtor can examine the mandate or the paying agent can offer the debtor a corresponding service as applicable.

You can apply for a creditor identifier from Deutsche Bundesbank


Do existing direct debit mandates need to be replaced?


Due to the changes in direct debit conditions on July 9, 2012, existing direct debit mandates can also be used for collecting SEPA Core Direct Debits and do not need to be replaced with SEPA mandates. However, if the direct debit mandate is changed to a SEPA Core Direct Debit, the payer must be informed ahead of time and given the creditor identifier and the mandate reference.

To use SEPA B2B Direct Debit, a new mandate must be received from the existing payer. It is not possible to reinterpret the existing debit order.

Sample forms for the various SEPA Core Direct Debit and B2B Direct Debit mandates are available at


Can I also use the SEPA basic direct debit (COR1) shorter submission time limit for cross-border direct debits?


No, the shorter submission time limit only applies to debit transfers of SEPA basic direct debits within Germany (uniform time limit for the submission of initial and subsequent direct debits D-1). Cross-border direct debits must still be submitted in time, to ensure that the standard template time limit is kept.


How do I inform my SEPA recipient of the purpose the transaction (e.g. salary payment)?


For domestic payments, the banking industry has established uniform text keys for indicating the payment type. Thus for individual types of credit memos, such as salary or pension credits, capital accumulation benefits and donations, special text keys must absolutely be used. However, in SEPA payments other keys apply:

SEPA purpose codes (payment type)

VP name /
booking text
GV code
BENE SEPA credit memo
Unemployment benefit
BONU SEPA credit memo
Bonus payment
CBFF SEPA credit memo
Capital accumulation
CHARSEPA credit memo
GOVT SEPA credit memo
Public funds
PAYR SEPA credit wage / salary15353
PENSSEPA credit memo
Retirement / pension
RINPStanding order credit 15252
SALA SEPA credit memo
SSBESEPA credit memo
Social benefit

List of abbreviations

ACHAutomated Clearing House
B2BSEPA Business-to-Business Direct Debit
BICBank Identifier Code
CBCCreditor Business Code
CICreditor Identifier
CoreSEPA Core Direct Debit
COR1 SEPA basic direct debit with shortened template time limit (D-1)
EBICSElectronic Banking Internet Communication Standard
EEAEuropean Economic Area
EMUEuropean Economic and Monetary Union
EPCEuropean Payments Council
IBANInternational Bank Account Number
PSDPayment Services Directive
SCFSEPA Cards Framework
SCTSEPA Credit Transfer
SDDSEPA Direct Debit
SEPASingle Euro Payments Area
STPStraight Through Processing
XMLeXtensible Markup Language (standard for the creation of documents which can be read by both man and machine)

Landesbank Baden-Württemberg
Am Hauptbahnhof 2
D-70173 Stuttgart

Tel.: +49 711 127-0
Fax: +49 711 127-43544