Welcoming the launch of a European harmonised bank transfer system, Brussels says the potential benefits could exceed €123 billion over the next six years. That would be the Single Euro Payment Area impact in payments markets alone.
But consumer bureau president Rasmus Kjeldahl pours cold water on the initiative by the European banking industry:
“In the short run, SEPA won’t make a lot of difference to European consumers. We can hope that in the longer run it will mean more competition in the banking sector and perhaps lower charges for consumers, but there is also a danger that the process will move very slowly, and that banks would resist making the changes, and we might end up with a European payment system which is even more expensive than the one we have today.”
No matter how many EU members’ borders a credit transfer might cross, all euro payments are considered domestic in the new Single Euro Payments Area, thus being promoted as a major, logical, new step in the single market – Brussels stressing the benefit for the consumer.