18.11.2016 | KPMG Law Insights

Commercial criminal law – SEPA – far-reaching changes in payment transactions as of February 1, 2014

SEPA – far-reaching changes in payment transactions as of February 1, 2014

Transfers and direct debits can only be executed until January 31, 2014 using the procedure that is standard today. Banks may only accept SEPA instruments as of February 1, 2014. Non-compliance threatens problems with all bank transactions, up to and including insolvency.

EU Regulation No. 260 of March 31, 2012, requires mandatory migration to the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) payment schemes. If it is not completed in time, no payment transactions can be executed as of February 2014. In the worst case, affected companies face the risk of insolvency – in both the technical and the economic sense. According to current surveys, many companies in Germany have not yet taken the necessary steps to ensure timely SEPA compliance of their payment processes.

Need for action in the construction and real estate sector

Our impression is that many companies in the construction and real estate industry still have a great deal of work to do. SEPA alignment was often classified as a purely interbank issue and as a mere replacement of account number and bank code by IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and BIC (Bank Identifier Code).

All businesses with large numbers of non-cash transactions, such as collecting rent and lease payments, should make sure they have all the necessary data from debtors and creditors to continue to receive and make these payments in a timely manner.

In the future, two different procedures will be available for direct debits for business transactions: the SEPA Core Direct Credit and the SEPA Business to Business Direct Debit. Both are associated with special advantages and requirements. Timely decisions and preparations are therefore necessary.

Swift action is also indicated if a creditor identification number is not yet available for your company today. This is currently the case for an estimated 60% of all companies in Germany. So it’s high time to apply for the creditor ID at the Bundesbank.

Changes to payment processes and IT systems

The generally alarming situation has prompted the Institute of Public Auditors to point out that SEPA directly affects the work of auditors. Management is ultimately responsible for ensuring that changes to payment processes and IT systems that are necessary for the continuation of the Company’s operations are implemented. Each auditor will have to assess in the course of its audit whether possible omissions are so serious that the SEPA timetable can no longer be met. Emerging problems may give rise to a reporting requirement under sec. 321 para. 2 HGB or even have an impact on the auditor’s report.

Explore #more

13.06.2024 | Press releases

Handelsblatt and Best Lawyers honor KPMG Law Experts

Best Lawyers has once again identified the best commercial lawyers in Germany for 2024 exclusively for Handelsblatt. A total of 28 lawyers were honored by…

27.05.2024 | KPMG Law Insights

Agreement on ecodesign regulation: products to become more sustainable

After lengthy negotiations, the Council and Parliament of the European Union reached a provisional agreement on the Ecodesign Regulation on the night of December 5,…

22.05.2024 | KPMG Law Insights

The AI Act is coming: EU wants to get a grip on AI risks

For many people, artificial intelligence (AI) is the great hope for business, healthcare and science. But there are also plenty of critics who fear the…

17.05.2024 | KPMG Law Insights

Podcast series “KPMG Law on air”: When the family business is to be sold

Around 38,000 family businesses are currently handed over each year. In most cases, the change of ownership takes place within the family. But more and…

03.05.2024 | KPMG Law Insights

Doubts about inability to work? What employers can do

The certificate of incapacity for work (AU certificate) serves as proof of incapacity for work due to illness. However, only if the certificate meets certain…

27.03.2024 | KPMG Law Insights

EU Buildings Directive: life cycle greenhouse potential becomes relevant

On March 12, 2024, the EU Parliament approved the amendment to the EU Buildings Directive. The directive obliges member states and, indirectly, building owners and…

19.03.2024 | Business Performance & Resilience, KPMG Law Insights

CSDDD: Provisional agreement on the EU Supply Chain Directive

The EU member states agreed on the CSDDD, the EU Supply Chain Directive, on March 15, 2024. Germany abstained from the vote. Negotiators from the…

21.02.2024 | KPMG Law Insights, KPMG Law Insights

The Digital Services Act – what does it mean for companies?

The Digital Services Act (DSA) is a key component of the EU’s digital strategy and came into force on November 16, 2022. As a regulation,…

15.02.2024 | KPMG Law Insights

Data compliance management: How to implement it in practice

Part 3 of the article series “Professional tips for data compliance management”   The third part of this series of articles deals with data compliance

14.02.2024 | Business Performance & Resilience, PR Publications

Guest article in ZURe: Monitoring the implementation of the LkSG

The current issue of ZURe (p. 20 ff.) contains a guest article by KPMG Law Partner Thomas Uhlig (Head of General Business and Commercial Law),…


Dr. Rainer Algermissen

Head of Construction and Real Estate Law

Fuhlentwiete 5
20355 Hamburg

tel: +49 40 3609945331

© 2024 KPMG Law Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH, associated with KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft, a public limited company under German law and a member of the global KPMG organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a Private English Company Limited by Guarantee. All rights reserved. For more details on the structure of KPMG’s global organisation, please visit

 KPMG International does not provide services to clients. No member firm is authorised to bind or contract KPMG International or any other member firm to any third party, just as KPMG International is not authorised to bind or contract any other member firm.