Schemes define payment processing on an international level, so it’s essential to stay in sync with all the emerging updates. There are currently a few initiatives for new payment schemes, one of them being the SEPA Payment Account Access (SPAA). Find out everything you need to know about it in this detailed guide.
Before delving into the nuances of SPAA, one must know what payment schemes are. Essentially, such schemes are sets of rules and technical standards that define how financial transactions are processed with the use of payment instruments.
Thus, all merchants dealing with payment systems like credit and debit cards, bank transfers, electronic wallets, and BNPL methods rely on payment schemes.
Payment Schemes Operating Principles
Any organization accessing a payment system, be it a payment service provider or a merchant, must comply with the procedures and regulations dictated by a scheme. These guidelines typically cover the following:
The Single European Payments Area (SEPA) consists of 34 countries - the 28 EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, and Switzerland. It was created to unify the standards and procedures for electronic and cash payments across the territories it covers.
The majority of direct debits and euro credit transfers in SEPA rely on the payment schemes developed by the European Payments Council (EPC).
The EPC has created four distinct schemes:
The SCT and SDD Core schemes are mandatory to all payment service providers that facilitate transactions in Euro currency. However, the remaining two schemes remain optional.
Each of the EPC schemes consists of several elements, including:
The EPC also publishes case-specific clarification papers that elaborate the topics of the scheme’s implementation.
So, it’s all clear about the European Payment Council’s four SEPA payment schemes, but what is SPAA?
SEPA Payment Account Access (SPAA) is another emerging payment scheme from the EPC. Let’s take a look at its development and review its main targets.
SPAA Development Timeline
The SPAA payment scheme is still taking its first development steps. Here is a timeline of its evolution to date:
Therefore, the SPAA MSG is currently responsible for the creation and development of the new payment scheme taking PSD2’s legal requirements as the “baseline”, yet going beyond it to add premium services in the context of open banking.
SPAA MSG’s activities thus far include the following initiatives:
After EPC Board’s preliminary invitation acceptance and the successful scheme’s first introduction session on 21 January 2022, the rough timeline of SPAA MSG’s actions appears this way:
If the Board accepts the first version of the new payment scheme, it will be published on their website and continue its further development.
The next step of the SPAA scheme’s development will be the creation of a dedicated Work Block that will operate under SPAA MSG’s authority. Its main objective would be creating "minimum API requirements" that will facilitate pan-European harmonization and interoperability. It will also ensure the scheme’s integrity.
The Work Block will consist of 10 experts elected by the Payment Account Access Multi-Stakeholder Group and representatives of European standardization initiatives in the field of PSD2 API.
The organization will be chaired A. González Mac Dowell, SPAA MSG’s co-chair. He states that it is highly anticipated that the emerging scheme will boost Europe’s movement toward an “open data society”.
According to him, if implemented correctly, this initiative has the potential to facilitate plenty of innovation opportunities that will bring new client experiences alongside fresh revenue streams for market actors.
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