What is SEPA?

The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is an EU initiative to harmonise payments across the Eurozone.


The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is a European Union (EU) initiative to harmonise payments across the Eurozone. Its goal is to make European payments as easy and cheap as domestic ones by creating a single market for euro-denominated payments.

To achieve this, the European Payments Council (EPC) has created three SEPA schemes. Each scheme is a set of interbank “rules, practices and standards” that defines a payment instrument:

  • SEPA Direct Debit (SDD)
  • SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT)
  • SEPA Cards Framework (SCF)

Which countries are part of SEPA?

SEPA consists of the 28 EU member states together with the four members of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). Monaco and San Marino are also part of SEPA.

SEPA countries map

SEPA is only used for euro-denominated payments. For this reason, the percentage of customers reachable by SEPA varies on a country-by-country basis.

Eurozone countries

In Eurozone countries, all bank accounts that were previously reachable through a national scheme are now reachable via the SEPA payment schemes:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Finland1
  • France2
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco3
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal4
  • San Marino3
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain5
1. Including Aland Islands
2. Including French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin (French part), Réunion and Saint Pierre and Miquelon
3. Monaco and San Marino have bilateral agreements with the EU to use the euro as their official currency.
4. Including Azores and Madeira
5. Including Canary Islands and Ceuta en Melilla

Non-Eurozone countries

In non-eurozone countries, the SEPA schemes are only used for euro-denominated payments. Reachability is only required for euro-denominated bank accounts. For payments made in the local currency, national schemes should continue to be used.

  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom6

6. Including Gibraltar

SEPA and GoCardless

GoCardless is the online Direct Debit specialist. Merchants can collect and manage their SEPA Direct Debit payments using our online dashboard or simple REST API.

Alongside providing support for SEPA Direct Debit, GoCardless provides access to the UK's national Direct Debit scheme and the Swedish scheme, with other national schemes, including Norway and Australia.

To find out more about collecting Direct Debit payments across Europe, or to register your interest with GoCardless, check out our GoCardless Europe page.

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