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The prolonged process of implementing the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) ended this summer. Now that the standardization of euro-denominated electronic payments has occurred, companies that do business in multiple European countries have an opportunity to realize efficiencies in their cash management and payments operations.

Eurozone countries have shared a common currency since 1995, but prior to SEPA, each country still used different electronic payment formats. In the 28 European Union nations and six other European countries—Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, and Switzerland—SEPA replaced those local instruments with standard payments, SEPA Credit Transfers and SEPA Direct Debits, that are formatted in an XML standard, ISO 20022.

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