SEPA Direct Debit Availability

The Deutsche Bundesbank recently released data on the implementation of SEPA Direct Debit by all the Banks across the member states. We analyzed this data and here are our key findings:

SEPA Direct Debit availability for EU5 + Austria:

Country  Core Scheme by % of Bank Branches  Core Scheme by number of Bank Branches COR1 Scheme by % of Bank Branches COR1 Scheme by number of Bank Branches
Germany 99% 6405 98% 6392
Italy 97% 24720 3% 980
France 99% 1553 1% 17
Austria 98% 1052 98% 1050
Spain 97% 311 90% 291
UK 10% 984 0.5% 62

(for all other countries, please refer to our complete list)

The deadline for the SEPA Direct Debit implementation in all the Eurozone member states is August 2014, whereas for the non Eurozone states, it is October 2016. This would explain why the implementation of SEPA Direct Debit is much lower in UK Banks when compared to the others in the above table.

At the time of writing this article, the following Eurozone states have less than 50% availability of the Core scheme (by number of Bank branches) :

  • Estonia (7%)
  • Latvia (3%)
  • Luxembourg (32%)
  • Malta (29%)

The COR1 scheme implementation varies widely across the member states, with highest prevalence among Germany, Austria and Spain. Italy and France have been rather slow in COR1 scheme implementation, despite a high rate of Core scheme implementation.

One explanation for this is that in Germany and Austria, the Legacy system (the Direct Debit system prior to SEPA Direct Debit) had a payment timeline of 1 Business day. When the Core scheme was implemented, this was raised to 2 Business days, prompting German and Austrian merchants to demand a faster system and thus giving rise to the COR1 scheme. The French legacy system has the same payment timeline as the Core scheme, and hence the French merchants have not been very proactive in the uptake of the COR1 scheme.