The February 2014 deadline for bringing all European Union area payments into compliance with the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) may mean a considerable amount of IT work for multinational companies that operate in Europe, a SunGard executive argues.

SEPA credit transfers and direct debits have been around since 2008. But Luc Belpaire, director of payments solutions for SunGard AvantGard, notes that European Central Bank statistics show that while 27.3% of credit transfers now comply with SEPA, just 0.4% of direct debit transfers currently are SEPA-compliant.

"Basically, we're nowhere in terms of direct debit," Belpaire says. "There's no adoption, no one has invested in it, and it's going to be a challenge to migrate these direct-debt transactions toward SEPA-compliant transactions."

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.