The introduction of the single currency created the need for a euro area with integrated modern payments infrastructure and regulatory framework. The European banking industry recognised this need and initiated the process for the establishment of a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).
In June 2002, the European Payments Council (EPC) was set up as the coordination and decision-making body of the European banking industry in relation to payments, with the purpose of supporting and promoting the implementation of SEPA.
SEPA is an area in which consumers, companies and other economic stakeholders take and receive payments in euro, whether across or within national boundaries under the same basic conditions, rights and obligations. The geographic region of SEPA covers the 28 member states of the European Union, as well as Iceland, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Monaco and San Marino. By adopting SEPA payment products (credit transfers, direct debits and payment cards), users are able to effect electronic payments within the SEPA countries, with the same convenience, time and cost, as domestic payments.
As a result of the effective implementation of Regulation 260/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 (SEPA Regulation) regarding the establishment of technical and business requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euro and amending Regulation (EC) No 924/2009, Cyprus law (Ν.127(Ι)/2014) the Implementation of the Single Euro Payments Area Law of 2014 (only available in Greek) entered into force as of 25 July 2014 and was published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus.
On 16 June 2017, Cyprus law (Ν.62(Ι)/2017) the Implementation of the Single Euro Payments Area (Amendment) Law of 2017 (only available in Greek) entered into force for amending the implementation of the Single Euro Payments Area Law of 2014, and was made publicly available in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus.
In Cyprus, the migration to SEPA credit transfers and SEPA direct debits was successfully completed before the SEPA migration end-date of 1 August 2014, as defined by SEPA Regulation.
More information on SEPA may be found on the following websites: