SEPA is the abbreviated form of “Single Euro Payments Area” and denotes a common euro payment area. All European Union and European Economic Area member countries are part of the SEPA, as are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Monaco, The Channel Islands, San Marino and some others.
SEPA transfers can be used to make euro transactions within the SEPA. Transfers can be made via e-banking, datalink or SWIFT services.
Because SEPA transactions are a standardized money transfer model, Swiss banks usually perform them free-of-charge, or at a much lower fee than transfers made in foreign currency.
Criteria for a SEPA transaction:
- Payments in euro
- IBAN of the account to which money is being transferred
- BIC of the bank to which money is being transferred (bank must be SEPA compatible)
- Shared (SHA) billing is used: fees are shared between the sender and the recipient
Important: If a transaction does not meet the above criteria, it will be processed as a regular overseas transfer, which will normally be a lot more expensive.