The occasional SEPA transfer, in brief
Whether you’re sending money across Europe to support loved ones or to pay a bill, an occasional SEPA transfer allows you to move funds quickly and easily. SEPA stands for the Single Euro Payments Area – covering many European countries and territories.
In this guide you will learn how to make payments within the SEPA area and the benefits of doing so. Find out everything you need to know about this type of transfer and how to make an occasional SEPA transfer, as well as valuable information about possible charges and delays.
In this guide
- What is a SEPA transfer?
- What are the advantages of a SEPA transfer?
- How to make an occasional SEPA transfer?
- What are the fees associated with a SEPA transfer?
- What might delay a SEPA transfer?
- FAQs and guides
Often called a European transfer, SEPA transfers allow people to send money internationally as domestic payments within the Single Euro Payments Area (or SEPA zone). The scheme was launched in 2002 to harmonise payment borders across Europe.
The zone includes certain countries and territories that use the euro as their currency and you can make an occasional SEPA transfer across 36 countries and territories in total. these are:
- The 27 EU member states
- Countries within the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein)
- Non euro area countries but SEPA members (San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican City and the UK).
Types of SEPA money transfers
There are three types of SEPA transfer. Each one has its own different requirements and is made in a slightly different way:
- SEPA Credit Transfer – These can be made as reoccurring or occasional money transfers. The sender and receiver need both parties’ IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and BIC (Business Identifier Code) – also sometimes known as a SWIFT code.
- SEPA Instant Credit Transfer – This money transfer type allows you to send funds in a few seconds. However, it is only available in eight SEPA countries, not including France:
- The Netherlands
- SEPA Debit Transfer – These are usually set up as direct debit payments. They’re used to send funds regularly on set dates, though they can also be used as occasional money transfers. The sender and receiver need both parties’ IBANs and their own personal contact details to send and receive the funds.
There are two types of SEPA Debit Transfer. SEPA Direct Debit Core is the main type of debit transfer offered by all providers, while SEPA Direct Debit B2B focuses more on business-to-business money transfers.
A SEPA transfer is a quick and efficient way to reliably send money across borders to neighbouring eurozone countries. SEPA credit transfers offer a number of advantages:
- You can make them as you would any other money transfer. Simply head to your online banking account and fill out the required details. The only extra piece of information required is the sender and receiver’s IBAN to enable cross-border and bank payments.
- Since you can make a SEPA transfer online, or potentially via a banking app, you can complete them anytime, anywhere.
Money transfers made within the SEPA zone are classified as domestic, so do not usually include additional sending or receiving charges. Some banks may still charge a handling fee, however, so it’s always best to double-check.
Making an occasional SEPA transfer is straightforward and similar to a traditional bank money transfer. All you need to do is:
- Log in to your online banking or money transfer service account or visit your local bank branch.
- Set up the money transfer to your receiver as you normally would. Simply fill in the personal and account details of your receiver. This often includes their:
- Contact details
- Bank account information
- You’ll then need to provide your receiver’s:
- Bank SWIFT code if you’re sending to a different provider – this helps to identify the receiver’s bank.
- IBAN code – this helps to identify the receiver’s specific bank account.
- Review all the information you’ve provided to ensure it’s correct, confirm and pay for the occasional SEPA transfer.
- You should also provide your receiver with your IBAN They’ll need this to receive their money.
If you want to set up a regular SEPA transfer or direct debit, you’ll need to sign a specific mandate. This is usually provided by the payee – when you pay a monthly subscription fee, for example.
In this case, it’s the receiver who sets up the SEPA direct debit, as they are usually a company you pay to provide you with a product or service. It is also the payee’s responsibility to keep records of this direct debit agreement.
As occasional SEPA transfers are deemed domestic money transfers, they are usually free. They operate in the same way as domestic wire transfers, meaning there are normally no extra fees to pay when sending. There are also no currency exchange fees to pay, as the money transfer often involves sending funds from one eurozone country to another.
However, some banks and money transfer services may charge a handling fee. This will depend on your chosen provider. These extra fees must be declared, so it’s a good idea to double-check before sending any money.
How long an occasional SEPA transfer takes will depend on the type of money transfer you choose. On average, as it is a domestic money transfer, funds usually take around one business day to arrive in the receiver’s account. National holidays and weekends can affect this.
There are exceptions to this rule, however. SEPA Instant Credit money transfers take only a few seconds to complete (but are not available in France). Direct debit and B2B SEPA transfers can take around two to three days.