In the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) all euro payments will be treated as domestic payments and the current differentiation between national and cross-border payments will disappear. The national practices of the payments industry need to be changed, which also means changes for companies, merchants, consumers, public administrations, payment service providers and infrastructures.
The goal is that national instruments will gradually be phased out and replaced by the new SEPA instruments. It has been recognised that handling dual processes for a longer period would be expensive for both the payments industry and its customers. To avoid a lengthy and costly migration process towards the new SEPA instruments, during which the benefits of SEPA cannot be fully enjoyed, it is important that all stakeholders migrate as early as possible. For those reasons, the Eurosystem considered it important that a clear end date be set for phasing out national payment instruments and replacing them with SEPA instruments.
The clear and common end date of 1 February 2014 was set by Regulation No 260/2012 for phasing out national payment instruments in the euro area and replacing them with SEPA instruments.