What is a non-SEPA transfer?

France By Fabien Lesage Sep 20, 2022

Article summary

Moving your money is more accessible than ever, but with so many regulations, services and providers it can be difficult to know where to start. Since the introduction of the single euro payments area (SEPA), it’s become even easier to make cross-border payments.

But knowing what this means for you and whether you need to make a SEPA or non-SEPA payment can be confusing. Read on to learn the difference between these types of money transfer and how to make a non-SEPA transfer.


In this article


Non-SEPA transfer: definition

Before you understand what a non-SEPA transfer is, it’s worth knowing that SEPA is short for ‘single euro payments area’. SEPA transfers allow users to send and receive money between cross-border banks in the eurozone quickly and freely – just like a domestic bank transfer.

While the SEPA zone is larger than the eurozone, it’s limited to the 27 European Union countries plus a few additional ones. That means a non-SEPA transfer is a remittance outside the single euro payments area.


The differences between non-SEPA and SEPA transfers

There are several differences between SEPA and non-SEPA transfers:


  • Transfer times – SEPA transfers are processed within a 24-hour window.
  • Fees – While the final terms depend on the bank, SEPA transfers are almost always free.
  • Reach – The SEPA zone covers countries within the European Union and some other places, such as Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Monaco.



  • Transfer times – Non-SEPA transfers take longer, generally around one to five working days. These transfers often need to go through intermediary banks.
  • Fees – Non-SEPA transfers carry fees, though these can vary based on the bank, payment method and destination country.
  • Reach – Non-SEPA transfers include cross-border transfers to countries and regions not in the SEPA zone.


What information do you need for a non-SEPA transfer?

No one wants to spend more time than necessary making a transfer, so ensure the following information is correct. Having the wrong details could mean your transfer is delayed, rejected or sent to the wrong account.

To successfully make a non-SEPA transfer, you’ll need the following:

  • Account number – you’ll need the account number of your receiver, which can vary slightly depending on the region.
  • IBAN/SWIFT number – the specific number you’ll need can vary, but you’ll find these on bank statements. Your receiver should provide this.
  • Personal details – Your receiver’s full name, address and country will be needed.

Bank address – You’ll also need the details of the bank you’re sending money to.


What are the delays and fees associated with a non-SEPA transfer?

Non-SEPA transfers have fees and delays that are typically associated with making international transfers. When moving your money, it’s important to know how long it might take to reach loved ones and what kind of hurdles you can expect. That way, you can ensure you make important transfers in time.


There are several situations that could affect the processing time of a transfer, including:

  • Banking hours – Issuing a transfer outside of banking hours can result in delays, as your transfer may not be processed until the following day. Additionally, even if you issue a transfer during business hours, the bank will only process it within a certain time period.
  • Intermediary banks – Depending on where you’re transferring to, your money may need to pass through intermediary or ‘holding’ banks. Each will have its own hours of operation, which could affect the total transfer time.
  • Security checks – Banks will need to clear your transfer and perform the requisite checks. Your transfer may need to be checked multiple times if it goes through multiple banks, to prevent any potential fraudulent activity.
  • Holidays – Any holidays in your home country, your destination, or involving any holding banks along the way, could result in delays if the banks are closed.


Non-SEPA transfers can carry higher fees. Some of these bank charges include:

  • Issuance costs – Your bank will apply its own specific commission as a percentage of the amount transferred.
  • Reception costs – A fixed fee for the receipt of your payment.
  • Foreign exchange commission – If you transfer in euros to another account in anything other than euros, the amount sent will need to be exchanged into the correct currency. In some instances, banks may charge a commission for the exchange beyond the difference of the currencies.

These charges may be deducted from the total amount as a responsibility of the receiver (BEN), paid solely by the sender (OUR), or split (SHARE).


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