The Bank of Lithuania informs: the SEPA plan approved

The Bank of Lithuania informs: the SEPA plan approved

In its press release, circulated on 4 February this year, the Bank of Lithuania informed that the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Coordination Committee had approved the plan of payment instruments replacement with SEPA payment instruments in Lithuania (hereinafter – the SEPA plan).

This document is aimed at informing operators on the market about the progress of preparedness for the SEPA project. The SEPA plan discusses the issues of the legal environment, credit transfers, debit transfers, payment cards, infrastructure, information standards and formats and communication about SEPA.

SEPA is an area where private customers, companies and other economic entities, regardless of their location, may send and receive domestic and cross-border euro payments under the same conditions, rights and obligations. SEPA covers 27 European Union Member States, as well as Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The standardization of payment instruments and accompanying processes on the European level will practically eliminate differences between domestic and cross-border payments making them much cheaper. The created conditions to access any bank of the European Union as safely and rapidly as a domestic one will open up new opportunities for service users. Companies providing services in several states will be able to unify the processes of internal payment and related services (liquidity management, e-bills, verification of the paid bills etc.) and select a service provider from any EU Member State. Companies from the public sector will also find SEPA beneficial. The Lithuanian payment market will take full advantage of SEPA opportunities after the Republic of Lithuania joins the euro zone.

The SEPA Coordination Committee, organised by the initiative of the Bank of Lithuania, domestic commercial banks, foreign bank branches, the Association of Lithuanian Banks together with the Bank of Lithuania, will endeavour to assure, within its competence, the compliance with this plan until the replacement of the existing payment instruments in the market with SEPA payment instruments. Seven working groups were formed to deal with specific issues.

Lithuania, like other European Union Member States, launched SEPA credit transfers at the start of 2008.

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