SEPA Country List: What is the Single Euro Payments Area and What Countries are part of it? Discover below to which countries you can send and receive payments seamlessly through SEPA
Let’s take a look at one of the world largest single payment areas, the SEPA. Discover how SEPA works, which countries are part of it, and how you can benefit from having a SEPA bank account below.
What is the SEPA?
If you are reading this article you are either interested in opening a SEPA bank account, or you already have one and you want to know what SEPA transactions work. Before we dive into the specific of present day SEPA transfers and its advantages, let’s understand first how it all started and what is has become as of today.
The early days of the SEPA started in 2008, when credit transfers through European payment instruments began effectively to function using a similar scheme as the present day SEPA. Before that, as early as 2003, when Pan-European automated clearing house in was created as the initial stepping stone for effective cross-border settlements in Europe.
In 2014 the SEPA became fully functional in all Eurozone members.
In 2019 the Andorra and the Vatican joined the SEPA.
What countries are part of the SEPA ?
Currently there are 36 countries in the SEPA area. They are, as follows.
All EU countries
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Some countries which are not in the EU are also part of the SEPA. Some EEA countries like Norway and Iceland are also in the area.
The UK, Andorra, San Marino, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Monaco.
Below is a list of all countries participating in the SEPA (Single Euro Payment Area) with their respective IBAN codes:
|SEPA Country Name||IBAN Code|
Do all countries in the SEPA use the euro currency?
No, many countries part of the SEPA do not use the euro such as Bulgaria, Romania, Switzerland or the UK. The SEPA only requires a country to be integrated in the area’s payment system, regardless of the country’s official currency.
Nevertheless, in many SEPA countries it is possible to open currencies in Euros. For example, in Romania, the official currency is the Leu, but in the majority of the banks you can open and keep bank accounts in euros.
The advantages of having a bank in the a SEPA country
There are many advantages for you to have a SEPA bank account as an individual or as a business, and here are some of the main ones:
You will be able to do faster transactions when dealing with other bank accounts in countries within the area when compared to wire transfers for example.
You will be able to do cheaper transactions than you would when compared to wire transfers.
It can help you and your business to process credit transactions faster and smoother.
There are some other advantages as well, but they are usually restricted to either individuals or business, or in some cases, only to some specific types of businesses transactions like b2b transactions.
Can my bank do a SEPA transfer?
If your bank is in one of the SEPA countries, and you have an individual IBAN for your bank account, you will be able to make SEPA bank transfers.
How to open a SEPA bank account?
If you reside in one of the countries listed above being part of the Single Euro Payments opening a SEPA bank account is extremely easy. Just go to any of your local banks, and usually just with a passport and your tax ID you will be able to open a bank account. Some banks however may require a proof of address such as an utility bill to open an account.
If you don’t live in a SEPA country things are more complicated, but it is still possible to open an account using one of the various online platforms(EMI) which provide bank accounts for non-residents. Some banks will also allow you to get a bank account even if you are a non-resident of the country where the bank is established. But most banks will not accept non-resident clients.
How long does a SEPA transfer take?
A SEPA transfer time will actually depend on the type of transfer it is (credit or debit transfer) and it can also depend on the banks and countries involved in the transaction. For personal bank accounts a SEPA transfer will usually take one working day to complete.
But let’s learn more below about the types of transfer and how they can affect the transactions time.
SEPA Credit transfer vs Debit Transfer
The SEPA credit transfer is a one time transaction from one bank to another in the area. When you send money through your account to someone else in another country part of SEPA, a SEPA credit transfer makes it possible.
A SEPA debit transfer is used by recurring payments, when a merchant charges a SEPA account. It can be used for monthly subscriptions, for example.
Other Bank Account Related Content
You may want to check some of our other guides to opening a bank account in a number of different countries in the world.
How to Open a Bank Account in Europe as a Non-Resident
Check our guide on how to open a bank account in the SEPA area and get your IBAN as a non resident, it is even possible to do it online in some cases.
How to Open a UK Bank Account as a Non-Resident
If you are interested in open a domestic bank account in the UK, also with a working IBAN for the SEPA area, but you are not an UK resident, this guide is for you. It is also possible to get an UK bank account number online. Check how to open an UK bank account as a non-resident.
How to Open a US Bank Account as a Non Resident and Non Citizen
Here is our guide on the most sought bank account for non residents in the world: how to open a US bank account as a non-resident.