SEPA for Consumers

About SEPA
The Single Euro Payments Area, commonly referred to as SEPA, is a European Union regulatory initiative. The objective is to standardise electronic Euro payments to make it easier to transact across the 33 SEPA Zone countries (see below for list of SEPA Zone countries).

What does SEPA mean for you?
Making payments in Euro to any SEPA Zone country will be the same as making a payment within Ireland. So whether paying your electricity bill here in Ireland or paying for goods or services you purchased in Europe by Direct Debit, the process will be the same and will cost the same* as it would at home.

* The cost is only the same if transactions are between EEA countries (see list of countries in SEPA V’s EEA below).

SEPA – What is changing for Consumers?

Account numbers

You currently make electronic payments within Ireland using a Basic Bank Account Number (BBAN) and National Sort Code (NSC). You already make international payments using BIC and IBAN.
Under SEPA:
From the 1st February 2014, a Bank Identifier Code (BIC) and International Bank Account Number (IBAN) will be necessary to make electronic payments anywhere within the 33 SEPA Zone countries, including Ireland.
Cheques and cash payments are not impacted by SEPA.

Direct Debits (DD)

If you pay for goods and services by Direct Debit (“DD”), there are specific Irish rules that apply to you and your DD Creditor (e.g. your electricity or insurance provider). Until recently, you could only pay by DD within Ireland. Consumers can now pay for goods and services by DD within any of the 32 SEPA Zone countries, if the DD creditor is using a SEPA DD Scheme.
Under SEPA:
From 1st February 2014, SEPA DD must be the only Euro DD scheme for businesses and consumers within any of the 33 SEPA Zone countries – extending your ability to make payments to any organisation across Europe by DD (provided they allow DD payments).
You will have increased rights regarding SEPA Direct Debits, details of which will be communicated to you as we move closer to the 1st February 2014 deadline.

What you need to do as a consumer:
Now: Know your BIC and IBAN and where to find it.
By the end of 2013: You will need to ask for / collect the BIC and IBAN of anyone to whom you intend to make an electronic payment.
Familiarise yourself with your new rights under SEPA DD.


Where can I find my BIC and IBAN?
The BIC and IBAN for your accounts are listed on the front of your paper and electronic bank statements.
You can also go to to access a free national service that allows you to:

  • Convert a single Irish National Sort Code and Basic Bank Account Number to the related Bank Identifier Code (BIC) and IBAN (International Bank Account Number)
  • Confirm the validity of any BIC and IBAN

When will I notice SEPA related changes?


Danske Bank changes

Online & Mobile payments:
Later in 2013, we will change our systems to allow you to start using IBAN. We will change how your account numbers are shown to IBAN’s. We will also automatically convert any standing orders, future scheduled payments and stored beneficiary information to IBAN, as a once off exercise. From this point you will need to set these up using the IBAN of the beneficiary.
Customer Direct:
From 1st February 2014, our customer direct operators will only accept BIC and IBAN when you request a payment by phone.
In general:
Payers (consumers and businesses) will also be able to send longer messages to the Payee (up to 140 Characters). You will notice changes to your bank statements and Online / Mobile banking to accommodate this.
Note: We will provide advanced communication of the above changes.

Non Bank changes

Throughout 2013, goods and service providers will start the changeover to SEPA, including your employer.
You may be asked for your BIC and IBAN instead of your NSC and BBAN.
If you make Direct Debit payments today, these will continue under SEPA DD. You will likely be notified by the DD Creditor when they start processing your payments under the SEPA DD Scheme.


I want to adopt SEPA today – is this possible?
If you want to start making payments using BIC/IBAN to any of the SEPA Zone countries you can do so using our transfer abroad screen in eBanking. The cost of making a SEPA Scheme payment within the EEA is the same as a payment to Ireland and will take the same time for the payment to arrive (see our International Products and Services Brochure for details).
If you are buying goods and services within the 32 SEPA Zone countries, ask the supplier if they are signed up as a SEPA DD Scheme Creditor. If they are, you can choose to pay by SEPA Direct Debit.

Can I block my accounts to stop being Direct Debited?
Your account is automatically open to allow Direct Debits. You can prevent SEPA Direct Debits being collected from your current account via ‘Regular Transfers’ settings in eBanking or by calling us on 1890 866 866.

What countries make up the 33 Country SEPA Zone?
The 33 SEPA Zone countries comprise the existing 27 EU member states of Austria, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden, the 3 EEA countries of Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and also Switzerland and Monaco.

Abbreviations & Terminology:


SEPA - Single Euro Payments Area
BIC - SWIFT Bank Identifier Code – required to transfer funds between financial institutions e.g. The BIC for Danske Bank is DABAIE2D
IBAN - International Bank Account Number
NSC – National Sort Code – identifies a Bank
BBAN – Basic Bank Account Number i.e. your bank account number
DD - Direct Debit
DD Creditor / Operator / Originator - Business to whom the money is owed and who originates collection of Direct Debits
DD Debtor - The business or individual who owes the money, whose account will be debited for the amount of the SEPA Direct Debit.


External information sites