A simple step-by-step guide on how to open a bank account in Germany. Open an online Germany bank account and documents required to open a German Bank accountRead More
What is a SEPA money Transfer?
SEPA stands for “Single Euro Payment Area” and is the desired mode of payment or transfer within Europe. Introduced in 2008, SEPA allows you can make any cross-border transfer to a bank account for the same cost and time as a local transfer.
National and cross-border SEPA payments
Since SEPA allows bank customers to make a national or cross-border transfer European payments (including Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein) the same way. So any EU-wide SEPA transfer is processed within three working days.
In short, using the SEPA Transfer, all transfers within the EU will be the same as a domestic transfer.
SEPA is made up of the Eurozone, countries within the EU and a few other countries which also support EUR bank transfers.
How to make a SEPA Transfer?
You can either do this using online transfer or using physical forms at the bank.
Details necessary for SEPA transfer: To make a SEPA transfer, you need the following details of the beneficiary (person to whom you are making the transfer):
- IBAN and BIC
- Name and Reference number
IBAN and BIC
International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC) have now more or less replaced the old account number (Kontonummer) and Bank code (BLZ). It is very important to enter the IBAN number correctly.
The structure of IBAN and BIC follows very clear rules. Here’s a quick overview:
- IBAN: The international bank account number is significantly longer, up to 34 digits. It is composed of the country code for Germany (DE), a two digit test and – together with the eight points of the previous bank code and the 10-digit account number – in the Federal Republic. The IBAN looks like this: DE 12 12345678 1234567890th
- BIC: the Bank Identifier Code is a comprehensive eight to eleven digits number-letter combination. The first four digits represent the bank code (BBBB), followed by the two-letter country code (CC), a two-digit coding of location (LL) and three points for the branch or department (bbb). This results in the following pattern: BBBCCLLbbb. To cite just one example: The BIC of Postbank is PBNKDEFF.
2. Name of the Benificiary
Name of the person to whom you are transferring. This is normally not checked
The reference (sometimes called SEPA Reference) is for the recipient to identify the transfer. So, if you are paying a bill, the reference number is normally mentioned on the invoice (mostly invoice number). The reference can be a combination of numbers or text.
This will also be listed on your account statement, so if you are transferring to family or friends, you are free to enter a text which you can use to identify the purpose (e.g., dinner, rent etc.).
You can also use the bank form for such transfer. A SEPA transfer form translated into English is provided below for reference.
Note: It normally costs to transfer using a physical bank transfer form.
SEPA Direct Debit Order
FAQ about SEPA Transfer
You can make a SEPA transfer to any European countries, including Eurozone countries and other EU member states, including the EEA (Switzerland, Norway, UK). You can find the complete list of SEPA countries here.
SEPA transfer should take the same time as a domestic transfer within your country, normally 1 to 2 days, and a maximum of 3 working days.
As per regulation, the banks should charge the same for a SEPA transfer as for a domestic transfer.
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