So there we were, sending our batched payments and direct debit collections to our banking partner to allow them get on with it, that thing they did pre SEPA that eventually paid creditors and collected cash from our customers. Ode to the good old days and its parochial simplicity. Alas, progress and innovation we welcome, often like a good fall of snow where kids rejoice while guardians wrench. What was Charlie thinking when he sought to make SEPA not only applicable to cross-border payments and direct debits but to domestic transactions also.
How SEPA helps businesses
Now that businesses have accepted the changes introduced under SEPA, it is time to look at how we can take advantage of such change. There are things happening that can help businesses as a result of SEPA. This regulation has brought standards into play across Europe regarding data exchange along with complete transparency in terms of payment settlement times, all good stuff. Sometimes it takes force to bring innovation; for all the challenges SEPA regulation brought Irish and foreign businesses, there is gain afoot. Financial technology (fintech) companies, enabled by this conformity at a pan-European level, are developing systems and solutions that will bring domestic and international businesses much benefit such as improved payment transfer. The reason for such development is that it is now practical for innovators to develop technology that can reach a wider audience i.e. reach and scale is now possible which warrants the effort and investment.
Electronic alternative payments (e-APs – we’ll discuss in future blogs) is where part of the action is happening. This is the layer above SEPA, the internet or services layer. It is here the real value of SEPA will be delivered to businesses and consumers alike. For those of us with green fingers we could consider the wheel barrow carrying the fertile soil to the raised bed as the SEPA layer, the bright colourful plumage of spring flowers being the services layer delivered as a result of the earlier effort.
Debapay’s digital solutions
Simply put, standards allow for the introduction of technical solutions and systems to bring improvements. Debapay operates at this new services layer where our digital exchange effectively creates a modern channel for merchant-customer engagement with the SEPA layer handling what is becoming a commoditised activity, the processing of payments.