Press release NSF: National Forum on SEPA migration (NFS) will guide the implementation of European payment standards

Press release
Date 6 July 2011

National Forum on SEPA migration (NFS)

  • National Forum on SEPA migration (NFS) will guide the implementation of European payment standards.
  • Less cash improves both safety and efficiency.
  • An online payment solution is also required for internet purchases at a European level.

These are the main outcomes of the half-yearly meeting of the National Forum on the Payment System (MOB) held on 1 July.

The MOB set up the National Forum on Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) migration (NFS) in order to make the transition to European payment instruments in the Netherlands as efficient and smooth as possible.

Within several years, Dutch credit transfers and direct debits will be replaced by European payment instruments. A European Regulation is being prepared that will set the end dates for using national payment instruments in the euro area. It is expected that the second half of 2011 will bring more clarity about the exact end dates; the proposal from the European Commission is the start of 2013 for credit transfers and the start of 2014 for direct debits.

The European payment instruments already exist, but are little used in the Netherlands. At this moment, a mere 1% of Dutch payments have switched over to European transfers against 17% for Europe (April 2011). In order to migrate completely within the next few years, the process will have to be accelerated in the Netherlands. This means that not only banks but also enterprises and software suppliers will have to start adjusting administrations and systems now. Consumers will have to be prepared also for the transition to the International Bank Account Number (IBAN), which is to be used for all payment orders, including domestic ones.

For a smooth transition it is important that banks, software suppliers and users of payment services work together and inform each other timely about new standards. Software suppliers need information from banks to enable them to develop new packages for payment service users on time. Further, it is necessary that all consumers are informed on time. For a smooth, orderly and efficient process, the MOB set up the National Forum on Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) migration (NFS). Inspired by the transition to the euro, the NFS brings together various stakeholders: suppliers of payment services (banks), corporate and private users, software suppliers and other supporting parties. Within the NFS platform, agreements are made about issues that involve various sectors.

These include:

  • Communication on SEPA
  • Planning of the migration
  • Test activities
  • Monitoring migration progress and communication
  • Identifying and contributing to the solution of substantial societal migration issues.

In order to enhance efficiency, the NFS will hold its meeting immediately after the MOB meetings and will also be supported by a small team based at De Nederlandsche Bank.

Users of payment services certainly do not have to wait for the NFS to be set up. Indeed, users that have already started preparations are encouraged to continue, so that they are well prepared and ready on time to switch over to European payment instruments

Less cash will be conducive to safety and efficiency.

In its meeting of 1 July 2011, the MOB took note of the fraud figures on payments published by the Dutch Banking Association (NVB). The fraud is increasingly shifting towards digital payment services such as online banking. The number of bank robberies has decreased considerably to 26. The retail sector is still strongly susceptible to the risk of robberies. Promoting efficient payments in the form of more PIN transactions and less cash may further improve safety in that sector. In addition, it leads to lower costs, the results of a recently published survey conducted for the Stichting Bevorderen Efficiënt Betalen [Foundation for the Promotion of Efficient Payments] showed. 

Website refurbished

The website Alles over betalen [all you ever wanted to know about payments] contains an extensive amount of information about payments in the Netherlands. Visitors can find information on payment products, but also background information about efficiency, safety and accessibility of the payment system.

On 1 July 2011, an entirely refurbished version of the website was launched in order to offer visitors information in a modern way. Visit the website at:
MOB finds that at a European level there is an urgent need for an online payment solution for settling internet purchases.

Approximately one in five Dutch consumers in 2010 made a purchase from a foreign web shop, a survey from De Nederlandsche Bank shows. It is remarkable that many Dutch consumers regret the lack of a safe and cheap payment solution for paying cross-border online purchases through their own bank’s online banking system. In the recently published paper ‘Online Payments in Europe,’ European web shop organisations, including MOB member, express the same wish. 

What is the National Forum on the Payment System?

The National Forum on the Payment System was set up by the Minister of Finance in 2002 to promote the social efficiency of the Dutch payments system. The Forum is a broadly-based organisation comprising bodies that represent payment providers and users. De Nederlandsche Bank chairs the MOB. The Forum meets twice a year.

The third SEPA monitor, the 2010 annual report and other publications of the Forum are available via DNB’s website.

For more information, please contact Kees Verhagen (Tel. +31 20 524 2272, +31 6 524 96961) and Herman Lutke Schipholt (+31 20 524 2712, +31 6 524 969).