What is the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)?

The Single Euro Payments Area is a framework created by the European Union (EU) to standardise payments within the Eurozone. SEPA aims to facilitate efficient and secure cross-border electronic payments in Euros and make them as simple as domestic transactions.

The SEPA network currently handles approximately 43 billion transactions a year and is categorised into four different payment processing schemes:

  • SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT)

  • SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst)

  • SEPA Direct Debit Core (SDD)

  • SEPA Direct Debit Business-to-Business (SDD B2B)

Which countries are part of SEPA?

There are 36 members of SEPA, including:

  • All 27 members of the EU

  • The United Kingdom (UK)

  • Andorra, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City State, Mayotte, Saint-Pierre-et Miquelon, Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man


map showing member countries of the SEPA zone

Are SEPA and SWIFT the same?

SEPA is a Eurozone-specific initiative for euro-denominated transactions within the European Union. In contrast, SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is a global messaging network facilitating secure communication among financial institutions worldwide.

What are the benefits of SEPA payments?

Businesses can benefit from using SEPA payments in the following ways:

  1. Efficiency: SEPA streamlines payment processes, making transactions faster and more efficient. It eliminates the complexities of cross-border payments, providing a common set of rules and standards.

  2. Cost-effective: SEPA reduces costs for businesses and individuals by eliminating fees associated with multiple national payment systems. Using a single currency also minimises currency conversion costs.

  3. Uniform payment methods: SEPA introduces standard payment instruments, such as SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and SEPA Direct Debit (SDD), ensuring a consistent approach to electronic payments across participating countries.

  4. Simple cross-border transactions: SEPA treats cross-border transactions within the Eurozone like domestic transactions, simplifying processes and systems for international payments.

  5. Enhanced competition and market integration: SEPA contributes to a more integrated and competitive European payments market, fostering innovation, improved services, and greater choice for consumers and businesses.

How much do SEPA transfers cost?

With 3S Money IBAN accounts, it's free to receive SEPA payments, and sending one costs just €1, regardless of the payment's size. There's no charge for receiving a SEPA payment. 

We help businesses worldwide access SEPA using virtual IBANs connected to a multi-currency International Business Account.

How long do SEPA transfers take?

The time it takes for a SEPA payment to be processed varies depending on the scheme used:

  • Standard SEPA Credit Transfer: Typically takes one business day, similar to a domestic money transfer, but weekends and national bank holidays may impact this.

  • SEPA Instant Credit Transfer: Completes within a few seconds, unaffected by weekends and bank holidays.

  • SEPA Direct Debit Core Payments: Usually complete within two working days.

  • B2B Direct Debit Payments: Typically take three working days.

Make high-value SEPA payments with 3S Money

Every 3S Money account is assigned a dedicated Client Manager who can help you maximise your payment opportunities in Europe and beyond. Whether you need to pay local salaries or suppliers or accept customer payments in Euro, our International Business Account can help you scale on your terms.

Here's a taste of what we offer:

  • EU SEPA-enabled IBANs in your company name.

  • Access to 65+ currencies with competitive exchange rates.

  • 100% online application with no EU/EEA resident requirements.

  • Send & receive high-value payments from 190+ countries & territories.

Contact our team to find out how we can support your business today.

Last updated: 15/01/24

Need further assistance?

Get in touch to learn more about service and get help from our dedicated support team

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive latest updates from 3S Money

© 3S Money Club Limited 2019-2024. All rights reserved. 3S Money and 3s.money are trading names of 3S Money Club Limited. 3S Money Club Limited is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 for issuing of electronic money and the provision of payment services with FCA registration number 900918. 3S Money Club Limited is registered in England and Wales, Company Number 8574246, with its registered office address at 45 Folgate Street, London, E1 6GL, United Kingdom. 3S Money Club Limited is registered with The United Kingdom Information Commissioner's Office with ICO registration number ZA495485. 3S Money Club Limited (DIFC Branch) is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) with DFSA reference number F007004, authorising it under Article 48 of the Regulatory Law 2004 to carry on the Financial Services comprised in Issuing Payment Instruments and Providing or Operating a Payment Account. 3S Money Club Limited (DIFC Branch) is registered in Dubai International Financial Centre, Licence Number CL5587, with its registered office address at Central Park Towers, office 20-54, DIFC, Dubai, UAE. 3S Money (Luxembourg) S.A. is authorised by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) under the law of 10 November 2009 on payment services for issuing, distribution and refund of electronic money with CSSF registration number W00000016. 3S Money (Luxembourg) S.A. is registered in Luxembourg, R.C.S number B245715, with its registered office address at 25C, Boulevard Royal, L- 2449, Luxembourg, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg