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What is a SEPA transfer? Everything you need to know in 2022

You’ve probably heard of the SEPA transfer before, but how does it work? How can one open a European SEPA account with Paysera, and why is it worth it? Keep reading and learn everything about it!

SEPA transfer meaning

SEPA stands for Single Euro Payments Area. This means that people with a SEPA account can make euro transfers in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Although the mention of euros might make it sound like SEPA is active in EU countries only, don’t let it fool you – there are non-EU countries that are a part of the initiative, along with European countries that have a different currency.

The purpose of SEPA transfers is simple – make money transfers in Europe faster, safer, and more efficient. Not just for individuals, but businesses too.

In fact, SEPA makes international transfers in Europe as simple as domestic ones by setting the same standards for all member countries and eliminating the differences that create obstacles for international transfers.

SEPA transfer schemes

There are two types of SEPA transfer schemes – SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA Debit Transfer. The main difference between SEPA credit transfer and SEPA debit transfer is that while SEPA credit transfer is a one-time payment, SEPA debit transfer is a recurring type.

SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) example

Let’s say you are planning to relocate to another European country, and you need to transfer a deposit for your new accommodation. You can do so easily with the SEPA Credit Transfer scheme and your new landlord will receive the deposit in 1 business day or so.

The same principle applies to businesses that sell in other SEPA countries, as well as their clients – selling and ordering products and services becomes a whole lot easier.


SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) example

We’ve already established that the SEPA Credit Transfer handles one-time purchases. SEPA Direct Debit, on the other hand, is a preauthorised automatic payment method.

Here’s an easy example.

We all have bills to pay every month. Let’s admit it – making a new transaction for a fixed amount of bills every month is annoying. And this is why we have the SEPA Direct Debit scheme, which automatically does it for you and sends the money straight from your account. It’s that easy!

SEPA countries 2022

It’s the end of 2022 and currently, there are 36 SEPA countries – all member countries of the EU, 3 EEA countries (Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland), as well as Monaco, Switzerland, and the UK.


What is SEPA Instant, and how is it different from SEPA?

If you thought that the regular SEPA transfers are fast, oh boy do we have news for you!

While SEPA transfers can generally take 1-2 business days to reach the recipient, SEPA Instant takes a few seconds.

But there’s more!

Unlike regular SEPA transfers, SEPA Instant transfers can even be made and arrive during the holidays, on any day of the year.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that SEPA Instant transfers can only be made if the banks of both the sender and the recipient are connected to the SEPA Instant scheme.

Why should you open a European SEPA account?

There are many reasons to open a European SEPA account, the specifics depend on your goals.

Generally speaking, if you happen to work or travel around Europe, you don’t have to carry cash with you not only because cashless payments are popular in Europe, but also because you won’t meet obstacles when it comes to:

  • Making payments with your bank card
  • Getting cheaper cash withdrawals
  • Making fast payments in euro

Criteria to make SEPA transfers

The criteria for SEPA transfers are very simple and there are only two conditions:

  1. Your country must be a SEPA member
  2. SEPA must be integrated by both the sender’s and the recipient's financial institutions

That’s it!

How to make a SEPA or SEPA Instant payment with Paysera?

As a matter of fact… You don’t need to do anything additional! For a regular SEPA transfer, anyway. 

As long as you and the recipient meet the criteria for the SEPA transfer, the regular transfer that you make is automatically categorised as a SEPA transfer.

Now, when it comes to SEPA Instant… All you need to do is mark your transfer as urgent after you fill out the transfer form using your Paysera account. If the recipient’s bank account is not a part of SEPA Instant, the option won’t be displayed.

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