What is SEPA? What are SEPA countries payments?

SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) has emerged as a game-changer in the world of cross-border payments within the Eurozone. Over the years, SEPA has expanded its reach to include various EU and non-EU nations. It has been fostering a more integrated and efficient payments ecosystem. So, we want to explain what countries are in the zone. Let’s dive into it!

What is SEPA?

SEPA is an initiative the European Union (EU) introduced to harmonize and simplify electronic payments in euros across participating countries. Launched in 2008, SEPA has revolutionized cross-border transactions within the Eurozone. With an expanding list of participating countries, including members of the EU and non-EU states, SEPA has boosted economic integration. In its turn, it streamlined payment processes, marking a significant milestone in the history of European payments.

SEPA purposes

Under the SEPA framework, customers can quickly and securely make euro-denominated payments electronically. As to blink an eye, credit transfers, direct debits, and card payments have become faster. SEPA eliminates the need for different payment systems, formats, and charges across European countries, promoting seamless and standardized euro payments. This streamlines payment processes, enhances efficiency, and reduces costs for individuals and businesses operating within the Eurozone.

What elements enhance payees of SEPA zone

Key features of SEPA include the use of International Bank Account Numbers (IBANs) and Bank Identifier Codes (BICs.) You can read about the codes in our blog. They identify accounts and, financial institutions, as well as the adopt the Single Euro Payments Area Credit Transfer (SCT) and Single Euro Payments Area Direct Debit (SDD) schemes.

Wittix is a money transfer service that enhances business owners with European IBAN. Thus, they become SEPA participants  and win with fast and reliable payment procedures. We deliver European IBAN, virtual and plastic debit cards, and convenient accounts to manage financial transactions.

What countries participate in SEPA?

Countries within and outside the Eurozone joined SEPA, expanding its reach and scope. However, note that although participation in SEPA is open to all EU member states, not all countries have fully implemented the SEPA schemes.

List of countries: The geographical scope of the schemes currently covers 36 countries and territories: the 27 Member States plus the United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Andorra, and Vatican City State/Holy See.

SEPA development history 

Before SEPA, making cross-border payments in euros was often complex and time-consuming. Besides, it was expensive due to different national payment schemes and varying standards across European countries. The history of SEPA dates back to the early 2000s when the European Union recognized the need for a more integrated and efficient payment system within the Eurozone. 

The more detailed storyline about SEPA occurrence is on Europe Payments Council website,  as it is the initial source of information. Below, we highlight some events of SEPA growing.

Euro Retail Payments Board establishing

In 2002, the Eurosystem, which comprises the European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central banks of Eurozone countries, established the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB). The ERPB aimed to improve the efficiency and security of retail payments, including cross-border transactions, within the Eurozone.

European Payments Council creation

Building on the ERPB’s initiatives, the European Payments Council (EPC) was established in 2002 as an industry body representing payment service providers, including banks, to develop and promote pan-European payment schemes. The EPC worked closely with the Eurosystem and other stakeholders to shape the vision of SEPA.

SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) scheme development

The SEPA project officially launched in 2008 with the introduction of the SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) scheme, enabling individuals and businesses to make euro-denominated credit transfers within the Eurozone using standardized processes and formats.

SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) scheme and the SEPA Cards Framework

Additional SEPA schemes were introduced in subsequent years, including the SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) scheme in 2009 and the SEPA Cards Framework for card payments in 2014. These schemes aimed to provide a comprehensive range of payment options that adhered to expected standards and rules across participating countries.

Regulatory mechanisms

To encourage the adoption and migration to SEPA, the European Union implemented regulatory measures. The Payment Services Directive (PSD), first introduced in 2007 and later updated as PSD2 in 2015, provided a legal framework for payment services within the EU and included provisions to support the development of SEPA.


SEPA has brought significant benefits to individuals and businesses, fostering economic integration and facilitating cross-border trade within the EU. It promotes competition, innovation, and choice in the payments sector while providing a level playing field for financial institutions operating across multiple countries.

About Author

Ben Adam is a dedicated in-house copywriter at Wittix, a leading money transfer services company. With a passion for crafting compelling content and respect for clients, Ben has been creating engaging and informative articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights into finance, money transfer, and related topics.

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