SEPA countries: Which countries are in the SEPA zone?

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  1. Introduction
  2. What is the SEPA zone?
  3. Benefits of the SEPA zone
  4. Which countries are in the SEPA zone?
    1. List of SEPA countries
  5. Which countries are not in the SEPA zone?
  6. Is Switzerland in the SEPA zone?
  7. Is the UK in the SEPA zone?

SEPA, which stands for Single Euro Payments Area, allows businesses and customers to make and receive cross-border euro payments. Since 1 February 2014, all countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) have also been members of the SEPA zone, standardising payment transactions within Europe. There are currently 36 countries in the SEPA zone (as of June 2023). This article provides a comprehensive list of SEPA countries and explains the benefits of SEPA credit transfers, as well as why it can be worthwhile for businesses and customers to use them.

What's in this article?

  • What is the SEPA zone?
  • Benefits of the SEPA zone
  • Which countries are in the SEPA zone?
  • Which countries are not in the SEPA zone?
  • Is Switzerland in the SEPA zone?
  • Is the United Kingdom (UK) in the SEPA zone?

What is the SEPA zone?

SEPA is a Europe-wide payment network that allows customers and businesses to make fast, secure cross-border bank transactions. The SEPA zone was established to support the European Union’s (EU) single market.

The SEPA zone allows customers and businesses to make credit transfers throughout Europe in seconds. With a few exceptions – such as in Switzerland and the UK – no currency conversion is required, and all transactions are easily carried out via online banking. It ensures that individuals and businesses can transfer funds easily, securely, and efficiently within Europe.

Overall, customers and businesses benefit from more efficient payment transactions and easier management of domestic and international transfers. This makes the SEPA zone an important step toward a unified Europe in which credit transfers can be made without restrictions. Learn more about SEPA Direct Debit payments here.

Benefits of the SEPA zone

The SEPA zone makes it faster, easier, and more cost-effective to conduct transfers and direct debits within Europe. The standardized SEPA credit transfers and SEPA Direct Debits help businesses work more effectively by reducing costs for cross-border transactions and increasing transparency for customers and banks.

The SEPA zone also ensures that each recipient has the correct bank details so that the amount is transferred on time and without redirections. There are also stricter guidelines for customer complaints and chargeback options, and there are no longer different national regulations, which makes it easier for businesses to grow. Transfers can be processed within one banking day. There are also standardised account numbers and bank codes: the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC). The IBAN can be used for all national and international credit transfers, eliminating the need to fill out different forms for each country and currency.

The single-payment zone will also increase competition among banks. Because banks in the SEPA zone must meet the same standard, customers can freely choose between different banks, creating a broader choice of products and services at competitive prices. Customers and businesses will also no longer have to pay cross-border transfer fees within the SEPA zone. Another upside is the increased security of transactions. All members of the SEPA zone must adhere to strict security standards to prevent fraud, and all transactions within the SEPA zone are protected by the same legal framework set out in the SEPA Regulation.

Which countries are in the SEPA zone?

There are 36 countries in the SEPA zone, including all EU member states. The SEPA zone allows customers and businesses to make cross-border credit transfers and direct debit payments in euros as easily and securely as domestic transactions.

List of SEPA countries

All 27 EU member states (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden) are SEPA countries, as well as Switzerland, the UK, San Marino, Vatican City, Andorra, Monaco, and the three EEA countries of Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein. The Europe-wide standardised procedures for cashless payment transactions can be used in all of these countries.

Which countries are not in the SEPA zone?

Although SEPA covers most of Europe, there are some countries that are not part of it, such as the Danish Faroe Islands and Greenland. Although Kosovo and Montenegro use the euro as their national currency, they are not part of the SEPA zone either. For this reason, it’s important for businesses and customers to understand and pay attention to which countries are not currently part of the SEPA zone, as there may be different regulations for each country. There are also some countries that use an IBAN but are not members of SEPA, such as Albania, Belarus, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates.

Is Switzerland in the SEPA zone?

Yes, Switzerland has been a member of the SEPA zone since 2015. Swiss businesses and individuals have also been able to enjoy the benefits of SEPA payment transactions, including faster, simplified cross-border payments and less effort when processing SEPA credit transfers or SEPA Direct Debits. SEPA transfers to Switzerland are usually free of charge but may be subject to currency conversion fees.

Is the UK in the SEPA zone?

The UK is still a member of the SEPA zone. On 1 February 2021, the UK (also sometimes referred to as Great Britain) left the EU. The UK was already, and still is, a member of the SEPA zone, because SEPA members aren’t required to be in the EU. Most banking service providers continue to offer cross-border transfer services.

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