EU postpones introduction IBAN

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The introduction of the new European payment system (SEPA) has been postponed until August 14, 2014 to prevent disruption of financial transactions. This was decided by the European Parliament, Tuesday. The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is an initiative of the European Union, which aims to simplify bank transfers in the euro-currency.

Customers will be able to make cashless euro payments to anyone in the area, using a single bank account, with a single set of instructions. The SEPA, which was supposed to replace the old national systems on February 1st,  includes the international bank account numbers (IBAN). Banks and companies now have more time to prepare for the new requirements, reported a press officer for the European Parliament Wednesday. Banks and companies had to invest in new IT-systems to process payments in a new way, with the intent to make national and international payments equally safe. The process also required new mutual agreements, for instance with regards to the transfer time for funds. Data from the European Central Bank showed almost 74 percent of all transfers complied with the new SEPA-standard in December, compared to only 41 percent of the recurring payments. The European Union has worked on introducing the new system for the past 10 years. A month ago Euro Commissioner, Michel Barnier, pleaded for postponing the European payments system. Dutch Minister of Finances, Dijsselbloem pleaded for automatically converting the old numbers into the new numbers for internet banking until February 2016.