You've probably heard of SEPA Credit Transfers but don't know what they are really for? SEPA Credit Transfers are a Europe-wide transfer system for transferring euros within the European Union. It is one of the fastest, cheapest and safest ways to move your money within the 36 member states of the SEPA zone and their associated territories.

What does SEPA mean? 🇪🇺

SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) is a network initiated by the European Union that aims to make bank transfers in euros across Europe as easy as domestic transfers.

Which countries are included in SEPA? 🌍

SEPA currently has 36 Member States:

  • 27 European Union countries (e.g. Spain, France, Germany, Italy)

  • Four European Free Trade Association countries (Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland)

  • Four micro-states that have special monetary agreements with the EU (Vatican City, San Marino, Monaco, Andorra)

  • The UK, although it has left the EU, is still considered a member of SEPA and is expected to remain so, even after its official exit

How does a SEPA bank transfer work? 🚀

There are three types of SEPA bank transfers, all available with Qonto, which offer three different services:

The standard SEPA credit transfer, the instant SEPA credit transfer (only available from an emitter to your Qonto account at the moment) and the SEPA direct debit.

The standard SEPA credit transfer uses the IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and possibly the BIC (Bank Identifier Code) of the sender's and beneficiary's bank accounts to transfer money from one account to the other. Once the transfer has been authorised, the recipient must receive the money within one to two working days after the payment has been made.

So you can send €1000 from your Qonto account to an account in Poland, both countries being part of the SEPA zone, with the standard SEPA transfer, the sending works like a national transfer. Qonto will transfer the €1000 from your bank account to your beneficiary's account in Poland thanks to the IBAN and BIC, which identify the bank account, the €1000 is deposited on your partner's bank account by his Polish bank, all this within 24 to 48 hours, depending on the time of the transfer initiation.


SEPA, a name familiar to Europeans and those with ties to Europe, is the acronym for Single Euro Payments Area, and SEPA money transfer is an initiative of the countries and governments of the European Union that simplifies bank transfers denominated in EUR.

As of January 2021, SEPA has 36 Member States:

Eurozone countries in the European Union:

  • Austria

  • Belgium

  • Belgium

  • Cyprus

  • Estonia

  • Finland (including the Aland Islands)

  • France (including French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin (French part), Réunion and Saint Pierre and Miquelon)

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Ireland

  • Italy

  • Latvia

  • Lithuania

  • Luxembourg

  • Malta

  • Netherlands

  • Portugal (including Azores and Madeira)

  • Slovakia

  • Slovenia

  • Spain (including the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla)

Non-euro area countries in the European Union:

SEPA currently applies in a complementary way to national credit transfers in SEPA countries that are not part of the euro area (see below). In these countries, it is still possible to receive payments via both systems: SEPA for payments in euro and the national payment system in the country's currency:

  • Bulgaria

  • Croatia

  • Czech Republic

  • Denmark

  • Hungary

  • Poland

  • Romania

  • Sweden

  • United Kingdom (including Gibraltar)

SEPA countries outside the EU :

SEPA is currently operating in six additional countries, alongside national direct debit schemes, in countries that have not adopted the euro:

  • Iceland

  • Liechtenstein

  • Norway

  • Monaco

  • Switzerland

  • San Marino

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