SEPA: Banks discontinue direct debits in favour of automatic e-invoice standing order

October 27, 2014  |  Electronic Invoicing, Europe, Payment

With the integration into the Single European Payment Area, the requirements of the European Parliament Regulation will enter into force, more and more Nordic banks phasing out the current direct debit based solutions in favour of the automatic e-invoice standing order: a recurring based e-invoice process.

Being aware of the need of businesses and individuals for standardized invoice payment, for instance Swedbank takes over this successful North European best practice and will roll out a new service from December this year: e-invoices with delivery to the customer to the Internet Banking site

In the “E-Invoices” section on the Internet Banking site, it will be possible both to pay invoices separately (by clicking on “Pay”) and to enable automatic e-invoice standing order.

The customers – invoice payers currently using the direct debit service – don’t need to do anything with their existing Direct Debit contracts.

What will happen with the existing Direct Debit agreements?

If the company implements e-invoices by the end of the year, then the current Direct Debit agreements of that company will continue in force as automatic e-invoice standing orders. Customers will also be given a chance to opt out of the automatic switching to the new solution by selecting their preference in the respective Direct Debit agreement on the Internet Banking site.

If the company does not implement e-invoices by the end of the year, then starting from 1 January 2015 their invoices will no longer by paid automatically.


UPDATE: 97% conversion from direct debits to e-invoice standing orders in Estonia

An average of one million domestic payments were made in Estonia each day in the third quarter with a value of 410 million euros, which is about the same as in previous quarters. An average of 54,000 e-invoice standing order payments a day were made in the quarter with a total value of around two million euros. The average e-invoice standing order payment was for €36.50. E-invoice standing order payments accounted for 5.5% of the domestic payments in the third quarter, and for 0.5% of the value of payments.

E-invoice standing orders are now being used for 97% of the payments earlier made by direct debit and the changeover to the new system has gone smoothly.
The transition to SEPA led to the introduction of the e-invoice standing order in the Estonian payment market in the second half of last year as the banks replaced the direct debit services they had been using until then with a new service based on e-invoice standing orders.


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