SEPA Intended Purpose
Whereas in Germany the DTA format previously allowed 378 characters to be used for the intended purpose of a payment order, the SEPA procedure now only allows a maximum of 140 characters. However, the purpose of use can be extended by a few lines and characters. Payers can insert a maximum of 35 additional characters with a line for the customer reference, which is used to identify the transaction on the part of the payer. This customer reference is particularly useful for returns, as it associates the transaction with a transaction that has already been completed. Another possible line is that of the Creditor Reference. It is used to identify collective entries on the part of the originator and comprises a maximum of 35 characters. If a continuous text is used in the purpose code instead of structuring with XML tags, the SEPA Rulebook recommends the inclusion of the Structured Creditor Reference with a maximum of 25 characters in order to facilitate the assignment of the transaction.
Purpose codes define text keys for the purpose of the SEPA credit transfer and SEPA direct debit. In the DTA format used to date, these were numerical codes that were specified for the purpose of certain types of credit transfer or direct debit. For example, the code 53 was used for a wage or salary posting. For a SEPA credit transfer, on the other hand, four-digit ALPHA codes must be used as purpose codes, which consist of four capital letters of the Latin alphabet. Instead of the previous 53 for a payroll transaction, the code SALA must be used for a SEPA transfer. With the help of the purpose codes, incoming and outgoing payments can be identified automatically.
Additional Optional Services (AOS)
With Additional Optional Services, banks can offer their customers additional services, as long as they comply with the SEPA rulebook. For example, banks can grant a higher number of characters in the reason for payment at the request of the debtor. However, this can only be transmitted to the payee if his bank has also approved this AOS. If the payee only has the regular 140 characters available in the reason for payment, his bank will shorten the longer reason for payment to the specified 140 characters. AOS are generally only granted if they represent added value for the bank customer in payment transactions.
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