What’s a SEPA transfer?

SEPA is an acronym for the Single Euro Payments Area, an EU-inspired payment initiative designed to make cross-border bank transfers in euros simpler and more efficient. SEPA covers all EU countries as well as payments in euros to some other European countries, including Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino.

Typically, SEPA transfers are as easy to make as domestic transfers, which means they’re simple, quick, safe and most of the time, free. But if you’re unsure it’s always worth checking with your bank before making a SEPA transfer, as some do still charge to receive SEPA payments

Who are SEPA transfers for?

A single system for both domestic and cross-border transfers makes it easy for anyone to charge an account in one country directly for services provided in another, including paying for things with Direct Debit, credit transfer, debit and credit card payments and even withdrawing money from cash machines.

This is particularly useful if you’re working or studying in another SEPA country where you can use an existing account in your own country to get paid and pay your bills in the new country. So, essentially SEPA transfers are for anyone living or working within the EU and wider Europe.

Is a SEPA transfer instant?

SEPA transfers usually happen within two working days so although they’re very quick, they’re not instant.

A list of all SEPA countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lichtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • UK

One thing to note

In April 2018, the European Commission presented a proposal to extend cheaper euro transfers and fairer currency conversions to consumers and businesses in non-euro countries as well. Under this proposal, all consumers and businesses in the EU would be able to transfer money cross-border, in euros, at the same cost as they would pay for a domestic transaction. The new rules would also make sure consumers are informed of the cost of a currency conversion before they make a payment abroad in a different currency than their own. We’ll keep you posted if this proposal goes through.

The Clear Currency effect:

Keep it simple

Euros

SEPA transfers cover EU based transfers made in euros.

European

They also include some non EU European countries.

Other transactions

SEPA transfers can include other transactions such as spot and forward contracts.

Related articles

Years of Zero - How Zero to Negative Interest Rates Affect FX HedgingOpinion

Years of Zero - How Zero to Negative Interest Rates Affect FX Hedging

Are you an exporter generating US Dollar revenues overseas? Have you previously considered hedging your future rates of conversion through forward contracts but decided against due to the high “give up” premium, the interest rate differential creating a significantly worse forward rate over the prevailing spot rate? Recent central bank actions through the slashing of interest rates may have helped you.

GBPUSD The oldest currency pair in the world, but where next?Guides

GBPUSD The oldest currency pair in the world, but where next?

There were fears a month ago that sterling could fall to its lowest level against the US dollar in its 200+ year history and despite reaching the depths of 1.1450, the lowest since June 1985, it still had some way to go to reach the all-time low of 1.05.

Claiming an overseas inheritance: a guide to currency exchangeGuides

Claiming an overseas inheritance: a guide to currency exchange

From making sure it’s legitimate to knowing what assets are liable to inheritance tax and how to repatriate any funds you may have inherited back to the UK as cost effectively as possible. This article explains how an inheritance from overseas works.

Retiring overseas: a guide to foreign exchangeGuides

Retiring overseas: a guide to foreign exchange

For many of us, the lure of cheaper living (up to five times cheaper in some countries), sunnier climes and an idyllic setting is too much to resist for our retirement - but what are the considerations when it comes to retiring with a foreign currency?

Paying your overseas property bills: a guide to foreign exchangeGuides

Paying your overseas property bills: a guide to foreign exchange

With the right approach and help you can side-step many of the hassles, pitfalls and costs that come from making regular payments in a foreign currency. Here we’ll take you through the common costs owning a property overseas brings with it and how you can best manage and economise them.

The Magic of Thingscase study

The Magic of Things

When it comes to an eye-catching, out of the ordinary business idea, things don’t get more weird and wonderful than The Magic of Things. Find out how we helped to save them thousands of pounds in transaction fees.

We use cookies to collect information about how you use our site. We use this information to make the website work as well as possible and improve our services.

Settings