Payments in the Single Euro Payments Area

Find out what you can expect from banks and other providers when you make payments in euros to an account in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

First published: 18/04/2016 Last updated: 11/05/2023 See all updates

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) allows you to move money as freely throughout Europe as you can in the UK. 

If you work or study in another SEPA country, it’s likely that most of your transactions will automatically use a SEPA scheme. This means you can continue to use your home bank account for your salary or to pay bills. And when you’re shopping online, the payments you make in euros are easier, safer and cheaper.

SEPA countries

SEPA countries include those in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and some non-EEA countries such as the UK and Switzerland. 

See the full list of SEPA countries.

Making payments

When you make a payment in euros using a SEPA scheme, it’s important to know what you can expect from your bank or provider.

First of all, you don't need to provide the Business Identifier Code (BIC) of the person or business you’re paying.

You can also tell your bank or provider how they should deal with payment requests 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 
  • set out acceptable payment intervals

If you set up a direct debit that doesn’t give you the right to a refund, you can ask your bank or provider to check that the amount and timing of each payment is what you agreed.

Your options when things go wrong

If you want to complain about a bank, provider or branch based in the UK, find out how.

But if you’re dealing with a provider based in another SEPA country, including branches of UK banks, you may need to report your concerns there.

The European Banking Authority has more information on how to complain and which authorities to contact across Europe. 

Make a report to the FCA 

If you think that a business we’ve authorised is failing in its duties relating to SEPA payments, please report it to us. Email: [email protected] with details of the issue. 

You can check our Financial Services Register to find out if a firm is authorised. 

Page updates

: Link added to right hand navigation on EEA firms.
: Editorial amendment Page update as part of the website refresh
: Information changed Page updates following Brexit.