How long do SEPA credit transfers take in Germany?

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  1. 导言
  2. What is a SEPA credit transfer?
  3. How long does a domestic SEPA credit transfer take?
  4. How long does an international SEPA credit transfer take?
  5. What are the alternatives to SEPA credit transfers?
  6. What is the fastest way for businesses to transfer money?
  7. What can businesses do if bank credit transfers are delayed?

Bank credit transfers are key for businesses to ensure quick, secure, and transparent financial transactions. Since the introduction of SEPA, funds can be transferred within Europe in no time. But there are still differences between domestic and international bank credit transfers that businesses need to know about. In this article, you will learn what a SEPA credit transfer is, how long domestic and international transfers take, and the possible alternatives. We also explain the fastest way for businesses to transfer money, and what they can do if bank credit transfers are delayed.

What’s in this article?

  • What is a SEPA credit transfer?
  • How long does a domestic SEPA credit transfer take?
  • How long does an international SEPA credit transfer take?
  • What are the alternatives to SEPA credit transfers?
  • What is the fastest way for businesses to transfer money?
  • What can businesses do if bank credit transfers are delayed?

What is a SEPA credit transfer?

A SEPA credit transfer is a cashless transaction within the SEPA area, currently consisting of 36 European countries. SEPA stands for “Single Euro Payments Area.” With SEPA credit transfers, individuals and businesses can transfer money from one bank account in a SEPA country to an account in another SEPA country, regardless of national borders. The only requirement is that the recipients have an international bank account number (IBAN). A bank identifier code (BIC) is optional. Aside from bank credit transfers in euros, it is also possible to move money by direct debit with SEPA. One advantage of the system is that there isn’t a significant difference between domestic and international payments anymore. SEPA also reduces the costs of moving money to other countries. SEPA replaced the electronic direct debit (ELV) in Germany in 2014.

For more detailed information on what businesses should know, see the Stripe article on SEPA credit transfers.

One advantage of SEPA credit transfers is that they are generally very quick. But there can be differences between domestic and international transactions. That’s why businesses should find out how long the individual transfer will take. This is especially important if the money has to reach the recipient’s account within a specific time frame.

How long does a domestic SEPA credit transfer take?

A SEPA credit transfer within Germany usually takes one business day. In accordance with Section 675s BGB (German Civil Code), payment providers have a legal obligation to comply with this time limit. This only applies to electronic or online transfers. Weekends and public holidays do not count as business days, so money that is transferred on these days will not necessarily reach the recipient’s account on the next day.

There is also a special regulation for transactions that are done in paper form. These transactions can legally take one day more than electronic bank credit transfers; in other words, they must generally be completed within two business days. This is because banks have to spend time first transferring the form into their electronic system.

Despite these time limits, note that each bank has its own cutoff time for SEPA credit transfers. This applies regardless of the bank’s opening hours. The earliest possible cutoff time in Germany is 2:00 p.m.

SEPA credit transfers that are ordered by 2:00 p.m. have to be processed within the legal time limits. For many banks, especially in big cities and online banks, the cutoff time is 8:00 p.m. If you’re not sure, you can check the cutoff time for your bank in the terms of service or on your bank’s website. You could also enquire directly at your branch. All bank credit transfers that are ordered after the cutoff time are postponed to the next business day.

Delays can also occur if the transfer form contains errors, such as missing information or mixed-up numbers, so you should always check the bank credit transfer carefully before submitting it. Exceeding the daily limit for bank credit transfers could also lead to a delay. Normally the bank credit transfer is then processed the next day.

How long does an international SEPA credit transfer take?

Like transfers in Germany, an international SEPA credit transfer also takes one business day, but only if the payment is to be made in euros to the recipient’s account. Transactions in foreign currencies can take up to four business days. There are no strict legal requirements for foreign currencies. The same applies for bank credit transfers outside the SEPA area. Transfers in unusual currencies or non-EU states, for example, could take 10 to 14 days.

What are the alternatives to SEPA credit transfers?

There are two alternatives to SEPA credit transfers that are even faster: express transfers and real-time transfers.

Express transfers or urgent transfers are transactions that are completed within a few hours. The exact length of time it takes depends on the bank. Express transfers can be ordered both online or over the counter at a bank. The fees are often between €5 and €25, although some banks offer the service free of charge.

Real-time transfers are even faster than express transfers. As the name suggests, the money usually arrives in the recipient’s account within a few seconds. This is therefore the fastest way of transferring money. Real-time transfers, also known as SEPA instant payments, are available in all countries in the SEPA area. They can be ordered online 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, this requires the receiving bank to also be signed up for real-time transfer. Not every bank offers this service. Costs can vary: some banks offer real-time transfers free of charge while others charge a fee of between a few cents and a few euros. This often also depends on whether you are a private customer or a business customer.

What is the fastest way for businesses to transfer money?

Real-time transfers are the fastest way for businesses to transfer money. But it’s not just banks that can process bank credit transfers in a matter of seconds. Certain payment providers and fintechs now offer a similar service. The time taken and the costs for transfers vary depending on the provider, which is why it’s worth comparing quotes in detail.

What can businesses do if bank credit transfers are delayed?

Businesses can take the following actions if transfers are delayed:

  • Contact the bank: The first step is for the business to contact the bank from which the bank credit transfer was made. Aside from asking the bank to check the status of the bank credit transfer, you can request the bank to track the transfer, identify potential reasons for the delay, and offer solutions.

  • Check the details: You should also check whether the transfer details—including the recipients’ name, IBAN, and BIC—are correct. Missing or incorrect information could be the cause of the delay.

  • Enquire at the bank: The payment recipients can also enquire at their bank and request assistance. If the money has gone to the wrong account, the transfer can generally be reversed. Note that the bank might have a time limit for reversing a transaction.

  • File a complaint: If the delay is due to technical issues suffered by the banks involved and a satisfactory solution is not found quickly, businesses can file a formal complaint.

For more detailed information and articles about payments, visit the Stripe resources portal. Learn more about how you can use Stripe Payments to accept global payments and increase your sales. If you are looking for professional support for your financial processes, sign up with Stripe today.

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