SEPA Direct Debit
As of August 1, 2014, the SEPA Direct Debit completely replaces the previous direct debit authorization for banks and companies. The SEPA Direct Debit enables comprehensive accessibility of the entire SEPA zone, it covers multiple and one-off euro payments and establishes IBAN and BIC as features for account identification. Until now, collections from bank accounts could be granted by simply issuing a direct debit authorization. This will no longer be possible with the SEPA Direct Debit. It requires the granting of a SEPA mandate, which can be given to the creditor (payee) in writing and with a signature or by e-mandate via the online banking application. The SEPA direct debit is given a due date, which determines the time of the account debit. The payee must inform the debtor of this date in good time by means of a “pre-notification”. First-time direct debits must reach the paying agent with the SEPA direct debit five days before the due date, subsequent direct debits at least two days before. The direct debit return period for the debtor (payer) is eight weeks. If the creditor does not have a valid mandate, the deadline is extended to 13 months.
E-Cash: Payment at the terminal increasingly popular
By entering their PIN number at so-called electronic cash terminals, cardholders can make cashless payments with an e-cash card. Payment with e-cash is particularly secure – the threat of non-payment and return debits due to insufficient funds in the buyer’s account can be ruled out. Payment with e-cash is possible both at payment stations and at unattended terminals such as a ticket vending machine, which offers numerous opportunities for merchants.
SEPA direct debit mandate
Authentication of a SEPA direct debit requires the issuance of a written SEPA direct debit mandate. This contains a creditor identification number (Creditor ID) and a mandate reference. The creditor ID must be requested by the creditor from the Deutsche Bundesbank and consists of a country code, a check digit, the business area identifier and the national identifier. The creditor assigns the mandate reference himself and enables the debtor to precisely identify the mandate when an account is debited. With this data, each direct debit receives an exact reference to the creditor. The SEPA mandate is valid until revoked by the debtor and expires 36 months after non-use. It can be issued in paper form or by Internet mandate, must be drawn up according to specific guidelines and must inform the debtor of the direct debit return period of eight weeks. The direct debit mandates for the SEPA core direct debit and the SEPA business-to-business direct debit differ in content and must contain different wording. In addition, an individual mandate or a framework mandate can be issued for a B2B direct debit. The framework mandate covers several legal transactions. Direct debit authorizations granted in writing will automatically be converted to the SEPA core direct debit in the course of the SEPA migration. Direct debit mandates cannot be converted to corporate direct debits. Completely new direct debit mandates must be obtained for them.
SEPA core direct debit, SEPA business-to-business direct debit and euro express direct debit
In the future, the direct debit procedure will be divided into SEPA core direct debit, euro express direct debit (SEPA direct debit COR1) and SEPA business-to-business direct debit. The SEPA core direct debit is to be understood as a standard direct debit. The SEPA B2B direct debit, on the other hand, is intended exclusively for business customer transactions and is adapted to the needs of business payment transactions. Both variants require a SEPA direct debit mandate for direct debit collection. The business direct debit is similar to the SEPA core direct debit, but is extended to include additional means of verifying the direct debits. After issuing a direct debit mandate, the debtor must send a copy of it to his bank. The bank then undertakes, in the case of an incoming direct debit, to match it with the help of the present mandate. The deadline for submitting a SEPA business-to-business direct debit is two working days and a direct debit return after the due date by the debtor is excluded. The euro express direct debit has a shorter submission period of two days. The SEPA direct debit mandate also applies to it and the return deadlines are set analogously to those of the SEPA core direct debit.
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