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1st SEPA Payment Account Access (SPAA) Rulebook: A Detailed Overview

Boaz Gam

Boaz Gam


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Article content
  1. EPC’s First SPAA Rulebook in a Nutshell
  2. What to Expect from the Rulebook’s Updated Version?
  3. What Does the New Rulebook Mean for the Payments Ecosystem?

1st SEPA Payment Account Access (SPAA) Rulebook Summary

On 30 November 2022, the European Payments Council (EPC) published the first SEPA Payment Account Access (SPAA) scheme rulebook. This set of guidelines and standards stretches beyond the PSD2 scope to new premium concepts and creates a foundation for businesses to adopt a wider array of open banking-powered payments.

The first version of the regulation takes into account the opinions received during a three-month rulebook public consultation (closed on 12 September 2022) and will go into full effect on 30 November 2023. Find out what the highlights of this document are to prepare your business for the changes it enables in advance.

EPC’s First SPAA Rulebook in a Nutshell

1st SEPA Payment Account Access (SPAA) Rulebook Summary

The newly-released rulebook is a 119-page document that covers a variety of topics related to the SPAA scheme, its operational model, management principles, and the rights and obligations of its participants.

The three key points presented in the first version of the SPAA rulebook are:

  • The intention to standardize the approach and implementation of data exchange for it to support “premium” opportunities powered by open banking across asset holders (banks) and asset brokers (third-party providers).
  • A draft framework to facilitate new payment flows of varying complexity. SPAA supports simple one-off payments and future-dated transactions as well as dynamic recurring payments, which are similar to UK’s Variable Recurring Payments (VRP).
  • An opportunity for banks and third-party providers to join the SPAA scheme as participants from 1 September 2023. This gives the organizations sufficient time to prepare their submissions before the day when the scheme goes into effect.

The rulebook also features an outlook on future initiatives - find out everything you need to know about it below.

What to Expect from the Rulebook’s Updated Version?

1st SEPA Payment Account Access (SPAA) Rulebook Summary

All the services listed in the rulebook’s 1.0 version are currently optional. However, in the following months, the SPAA Multi-Stakeholder Group (SPAA MSG) is set to define a “minimum viable product” (MVP). This will be a subset of services selected from the document’s first edition that will be mandatory for the asset holders participating in the SPAA scheme.

The MVP service selection will be based on market demand and on the updates of the default business conditions performed by an independent economic consultant. The MVP list will be available to the public in an updated version of the rulebook that is scheduled for publishing by Q2 2023.

The set of default business conditions mentioned above will also be published within the same timeframe and will contain the default fees that the scheme will permit on the “premium” assets that banks make available to third-party providers in addition to the use of the SPAA API itself.

What Does the New Rulebook Mean for the Payments Ecosystem?

1st SEPA Payment Account Access (SPAA) Rulebook Summary

The SPAA rulebook offers a forward-looking approach to commerce regulations that matches the needs of modern-day businesses and the current payments landscape. Its take on providing a clear framework to support a new frontier of A2A for merchants is promising reduced costs, higher efficiency, and advanced security.

Payment industry experts agree that, should the SPAA be well-supported by payment schemes, the European Union will have all the chances to overtake the UK’s position as the market leader in open banking transactions.

What’s more, SPAA’s initiative in developing default asset fees has the potential to convince banks to become a part of the scheme early on, given commercial opportunities. Yet, it’s important to note that SPAA MSG must assess fee proposals and base costs thoroughly to make sure they match market expectations - only then will the SPAA scheme be able to fulfill its true potential for merchants.

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