Information on SEPA


As from August 1, 2014, only the payment procedures of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) must be used.

The previous bank account number and the previous bank code are replaced by the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and the Business Identifier Code (BIC).

However, the 8-digit or 11-digit Business Identifier Code (BIC) had to be used at international credit transfers and direct debits only until January 2016.


Structure of the 8-digit or 11-digit BIC code












Institution code / bank code

ISO country code

location code

branch code


Since February 1, 2016, only the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is needed.

The length and the format of the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) are not consistent, but may differ depending on the country to which they refer. The length ranges from 16 characters to 31 characters whereas the format may include different sections, for instance, the ISO country code, IBAN check digits, bank code, account number, national bank code, branch code, national check digits, etc..

Structure of a 22-digit IBAN number as an example























ISO country code

check digits

Bank and branch identifier

Account number


SEPA direct debit 

The SEPA direct debit belongs to the payment instruments of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), besides the SEPA card payment and the SEPA credit transfer. The SEPA direct debit replaces the previous direct debit procedure or direct debiting respectively.

The payment recipient requires a so-called SEPA direct debit mandate for the SEPA direct debit. The mandate allows the payee to debit an amount due from the payer's account. At the same time, the payer's bank is instructed to implement the redemption of the SEPA direct debit.

There are 2 types of SEPA direct debit mandates:

  1. SEPA core direct debit mandate: It is used whenever consumers are payers. However, it can also be used if non-consumers (e.g., companies, associations capable of holdings rights, federations of associations, foundations, public corporations, institutions, etc.) are payers.

  1. SEPA business to business (B2B) direct debit mandate: It can only be used if non-consumers are payers, such as companies, associations capable of holding rights, federations of associations, foundations, public corporations, institutions, etc..

The SEPA core direct debit mandate and the SEPA business to business (B2B) direct debit mandate differ in their effects.

A payer may still oppose a SEPA core direct debit within 8 weeks from the due date if a valid SEPA mandate exists. If the bank account of the payer is debited without the existence of a valid core direct debit mandate (either a mandate has not been granted, has been incorrectly issued or the mandate was deleted), the period of time in which the direct debit can still be opposed is up to 13 months. By contrast, a payer has no possibility of objection anymore after the due date as far as a SEPA business to business (B2B) direct debit is concerned.

The SEPA direct debit mandate entitles either the single or the recurring or permanent debit respectively. This must be noted on the respective SEPA direct debit mandate.

The SEPA direct debit mandate must include the so-called creditor identifier of the payee.

In addition to the creditor identifier, the SEPA direct debit mandate must include a mandate reference assigned by the payee. The mandate reference must allow a unique assignment of a payer and may consist, for example, of his, her or its customer number.

The payee must submit the SEPA direct debit to his, her or its bank in time in order that the debit of the bank account of a payer can be executed at the scheduled maturity date. Therefore, deadlines must be observed regularly. The deadline comprises 5 days as far as first-time or one-off SEPA core direct debits are concerned, and 2 days as far as recurrent or permanent SEPA core direct debits are concerned. In contrast, a deadline / delay period of 1 day each must be respected as far as first-time, one-time and recurring SEPA business to business (B2B) direct debits are concerned

On top of that, notice periods must be taken into account and pre-notifications must be executed while using SEPA direct debits.

The payee must send a notice (pre-notification) of the direct debit to the payer, and must name the maturity date at least 14 days prior to the debiting of the bank account as far as a one-off SEPA direct debit is concerned.

By contrast, a unique information of the payer before the first debit and a specification of a recurring due date are sufficient as far as recurrent or permanent direct debits with the same direct debit amounts are concerned.

The notice period of 14 days may be shortened in an individual agreement between the payee and the payer at any time. For example, it can be scheduled on the day of the submission prior to maturity (SEPA core direct debit: 2 or 5 days, SEPA business to business (B2B) direct debit: 1 day).

A complete exclusion of the pre-notification or of the notice period respectively is not possible.

However, it is not compulsory how the prior notice (pre-notification) is to be transmitted. Therefore, very different modes of transmission can be selected (letter mail, SMS, phone, e-mail, fax, internet, etc.).

The payer can legitimise the SEPA direct debit mandate by writing (manually written) or electronically, i.e. with a qualified electronic signature. Nevertheless, it is disputed whether a deviation from the written form is possible and allowed. The introduction of a web-enabled so-called e-mandate is planned, but not yet implemented.

The SEPA direct debit mandate remains with the payee and serves as a credential. It may be revoked unilaterally at any time, either by the payer or by the payee, without a period for giving notice.

If the SEPA direct debit mandate is not used anymore within a period of 36 months, the mandate becomes void. Thus, the validity of a SEPA direct debit mandate is extended at every use by a direct debit to the next 36 months - except for one-off SEPA direct debit mandates

The INTERNATIONAL NATURE & MONUMENT FORUM - INMF supports its users in the preparation and implementation of SEPA direct debits. Among other things, it makes pre-filled SEPA direct debit mandates available

Furthermore, users can use text modules to carry out the prior notice (pre-notification). You will find the text modules in your customer area under >>Downloads<<.

More information on the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and its payment instruments is available under:


Important legal bases are in particular:

1. Regulation (EC) No 924 / 2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on cross-border payments in the Community;

2. Regulation (EU) No. 260 / 2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 for establishing the technical and business requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euro.



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