What Is SEPA?

SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) is the name given to the single payments area of 36 European countries, including all 27 member states of the European Union. Within this supranational payments area, customers should no longer experience any differences between national and cross-border payments in EUR.

For each of the various SEPA schemes, there is a Rulebook and a set of associated Implementation Guidelines for the ISO 20022 messages used.

Significance of SEPA in Switzerland

For Switzerland, a country surrounded by countries of the European Union, participation in the SEPA schemes is of great economic importance. It allows consumers, companies and other institutions to benefit from uniform and standardized processing of payments and direct debits in EUR to and from all SEPA member countries. It is important to note that SEPA does not contain any price regulations. They can only be applied to orders within or between EU and EEA member countries.


NASO

In assignment by the Swiss and Liechtenstein financial center, SIX Interbank Clearing as the National Adherence Support Organisation (NASO) of Switzerland is supporting the Swiss financial institutions with the administrative issues and facilitating the registration process.

Participation in the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme

Financial institutions that intend to participate in the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme must submit the following forms in Word format, duly signed and dated, to SIX Interbank Clearing:

After formal checks of the documents supplied, SIX Interbank Clearing will forward the necessary documents to the EPC. The EPC will acknowledge their receipt and notify, in writing, the individual financial institution whether the application is approved or refused.

Identification Number SEPA Direct Debit

Structure of the Creditor Identifier

  • Part a: Positions 1 and 2: The ISO national code for Switzerland (CH), Liechtenstein (LI). 
  • Part b: Positions 3 and 4: Two-digit check digits (modulo 97-10) pertaining to parts a and d (part c is not considered). 
  • Part c: Positions 5 to 7: Three-digit Creditor Business Code that can be freely determined by the creditor for the identification of a business field within the same company. If no Creditor Business Code is used, then “ZZZ” is used as a placeholder. 
  • Part d: Positions 8 to 18: Eleven-digit numerical national Creditor Identifier, which unambiguously identifies the creditor within Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It is numbered progressively beginning with 1 and filled in with leading zeroes.

Application & Issuing

Applications for the issuing of a Creditor Identifier can be made exclusively online through financial institutions. Creditors must therefore apply for their Creditor Identifier through a financial institution. The creditor's primary domicile and business headquarters must be in Switzerland or Liechtenstein.

Basically, the same Creditor Identifier may be used at the same time for both the SEPA Core Direct Debit Scheme and the SEPA B2B Direct Debit Scheme. Only one Creditor Identifier will be issued per creditor (company name and address), which will ordinarily contain the “ZZZ” Creditor Business Code (part c). The Creditor Business Code gives the creditor the option of indicating different business fields within their company.

No authorization to collect direct debits in the SEPA Direct Debit Scheme is granted through the issuing of a Creditor Identifier. Such authorization can only be granted by the financial institution that holds the applicant's account.

Should changes arise regarding information pertaining to the creditor (e.g. change of name, change of legal form, etc.), no new Creditor Identifier is to be applied for. The same also goes for address changes (e.g. street) and for bank account switching. The creditor must demonstrate, however, at the request of its financial institution that his identity remains the same notwithstanding any such changes.

If a company in entirety is transferred to a new legal entity, the Creditor Identifier of the company being taken over is to be used. The Creditor’s former Creditor Identifier is to be returned to its financial institution for deletion.