The abbreviation SEPA stands for Single Euro Payments Area. Its legal basis is the European SEPA Regulation (Regulation EU No. 260/2012).
The Single European Payments Area introduced new Europe-wide and uniform procedures for cashless payment transactions (credit transfers, direct debits) in Germany. They can be used for euro payments in the 28 EU states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway as well as Monaco, Switzerland, San Marino, Andorra and the Vatican City State.
SEPA was introduced on 1 February 2014. Starting from this date, credit transfers and direct debits had to be carried out in accordance with the SEPA procedures. By way of exception and if this was agreed with the customer, banks and savings banks were still allowed to accept payment orders in the old domestic format until 1 August 2014. And banks and savings banks were still allowed to accept payment orders from consumers in respect of which only the account number and bank sort code had been provided until 1 February 2016. In this case they carried out a free and secure conversion to the IBAN.