”What we learned on SEPA is that regulation actually helps”

Ouwendijk EddyInterview with Eddy Ouwendijk
Managing Partner Payments Advisory Group

Beyond SEPA: problems for organizations

Unfortunately yes, corporates do still have problems and the main problem is that all the corporates used SEPA to mainly comply with SEPA. What they did not do is optimize their own processes and systems internally and that means that they have problems now with the new SEPA dynamic on the outside and the old way of working on the inside. That is still a problem at this moment. Fortunately, this is fixable and that means that at the moment corporates have the opportunity to finally reep the benefits of SEPA. Until now that was only seen as a cost burden, but now on the payment side it is almost tenderized, it is possible to optimize that one and finally get the benefits of SEPA

Lessons Learned from SEPA 

There are several lessons to be learned on SEPA. One of the lessons is that payments are rather complex; more complex than they were recognized and that has to do with all the local flavors in the different countries. Payments do tend to have a very specific need in different countries and therefore it seems to be much more complex than was anticipated.

Further Integrations of the European Payments Sector

I see two views on that one. One is the external one and that is regulation. What we learned on SEPA is that regulation actually helps. It was until the setting of the end date of SEPA that really SEPA moved on towards where we are now. So regulation can help as a catalyst on the payments. On the internal side, on the corporates itself, it is quite interesting to see the power shift of corporates in the buying power towards banks. Therefore corporates are more able to ask their banks for better deals, such as lower cost or better timelines.

Next Step for the Corporates

The next step for the corporates, as I see it, is that after SEPA compliancy it is time to improve your own processes and IT systems in order to cut costs and simplify your payment stream on a more European scale. There is of course the upcoming Payments Services Directive II, which has absolutely impact on many corporates.

European Payments Platform

I think it is a very good thing, because as of SEPA there is no such thing as a national payment, there is only a SEPA payment, which is cross-border. So therefore, a platform is very useful to exchange knowledge and experiences and to see what next steps you can do and maybe learn from each other what others already have done.

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