Making payments in euros within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)

Learn about your rights when you make credit transfers or pay direct debits in euros to an account in a SEPA country, and find out what requirements banks and payment service providers must meet.

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) makes euro payments easier and cheaper, and enables you to move money as freely throughout Europe as you can within the UK, for example when online shopping. 

SEPA countries include the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) member states and some non-EEA jurisdictions such as the UK and Switzerland.

See the full list of SEPA countries.

Making payments

When you make a payment in euros, you don't need to provide the Business Identifier Code (BIC) of the person or business you are paying. Your provider will only ask you for their International Bank Account Number (IBAN).

Similarly, anyone wishing to pay you in euros will only need your IBAN.

You can tell your provider how they should deal with payment requests in euros from specific billers. For example, you can:

  • block direct debits from certain (or all) billers
  • ask your provider to only accept direct debits from certain billers
  • set maximum payment amounts 
  • specify acceptable payment intervals.

If your direct debit mandate does not give you the right to a refund, you can ask your provider to check whether the amount and timing of each incoming direct debit transaction is the same as you originally agreed.

Remember, the person or company billing you cannot say that you can only pay them from an account located in a specific SEPA country. 

For example, a utility company in another SEPA country would not be able to insist that you pay them by direct debit from a bank account based in their country, as opposed to a UK bank account.

Provider responsibilities

Your payment service provider should be complying with a range of existing obligations regarding payments in euros. For example, they must charge you the same for a cross‐border euro payment within the SEPA as they would for a national payment in euros.

However, this doesn’t mean that all banks must charge the same for payments in euros, or that your bank must offer payments in euros on the same terms as it would payments in sterling. Nor does it mean there is a limit to the fees firms can charge for such payments.

If your payment service provider offers the SEPA Schemes, it should be able to provide more information.

See the European Payments Council website for a full list of these providers in the UK and abroad.

Your options when things go wrong

If you have a SEPA or payment-related complaint about a provider (or branch) based in the UK, you should get in touch with the Financial Ombudsman Service:

If you are dealing with payment service providers (including branches of UK banks) based in another SEPA country, you will need to report your concerns to the competent authority in that country and refer any complaints to the appropriate body there.

Reporting to the FCA

If you believe that a business we regulate is not fulfilling its obligations under the SEPA regulation, you should consider reporting this to us, along with details of the relevant incident(s).

You can email your report to us at [email protected].