(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.
  • 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 Direct Debit

Application to Deutsche Bundesbank for a creditor identifier for Germany.

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

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 (IBAN-only).
  • 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).
  • 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 (IBAN-only).
  • 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.

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



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


What countries are taking part in SEPA?


A total of 34 countries are taking part in SEPA. These include the 28 EU member states, the 3 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
incl. Aland
incl. Martinique, Guadeloupe,
French-Guyana, Réunion
NetherlandsNL EU
incl. Azores, Madeira
San MarinoSM--
incl. Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
incl. Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey

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


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.


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


What is a pre-notification?


The payee is required to notify the payer of the pending direct debit at least 14 days before it is charged. This pre-notification must indicate a due date. The period may be shorter if this is arranged with the payee. A one-time pre-notification is sufficient for recurring collections of the same amount.


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


Special text codes (SEPA purpose codes) absolutely must be used in SEPA payment transactions to identify the type of payment.

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
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)
Related Links

List of EPC members


Landesbank Baden-Württemberg
Am Hauptbahnhof 2
70173 Stuttgart

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