Consumers increasingly demand flexible payment solutions in a world where instant gratification seemingly is the norm. With more than €600 billion in European economic activity in 2017 via internet sales, businesses have a vested interest in catering to these consumers. Considering that this amount of activity is only set to grow exponentially, it’d be effectively a case of financial negligence for businesses not to compete.

Unfortunately, rapid transactions between banks in different European countries have historically lagged behind the overall development of the EU as a whole. This not only hinders the economic zone’s financial activity but has hurt online businesses as well – particularly those attempting to serve markets with vastly different standards of living compared to their own.

Thankfully, SEPA is one solution that is breaking down these barriers and providing benefits to both consumers and businesses. Today, let’s examine the benefits SEPA can provide online businesses.

Increased Business Opportunities

Most businesses rely just as heavily on other businesses as they do their consumers. Whether it is in the pursuit of sourcing raw materials or securing valuable B2B services, being able to easily and quickly pay for and procure these essentials makes for better business. However, some businesses in Europe – or those that wish to do business in Europe – run into issues with fast payment and invoicing.

Businesses that fully embrace SEPA payments can dramatically expand potential B2B opportunities; by using this option, businesses can quickly pay for services and products anywhere within SEPA’s jurisdiction. Some Europeans businesses refuse to deal with peers that do not utilise SEPA payments, so embracing this can open the doors to a plethora of new business opportunities. From a B2B standpoint, utilising SEPA just makes sense.

Faster Transfers

Compared to traditional bank transfers of the past, SEPA transfers usually are much faster – especially when comparing transfers between eastern and western European countries. In the vast majority of cases, SEPA transfers take only one business day, meaning that businesses receive funds directly into their bank accounts faster. This is much better than waiting multiple business days to receive payment or have your business’ payments received.

Even faster is the SEPA Instant Payments, which can be completed in a matter of seconds. Prior to this development, only a handful of countries in Europe offered instant payments in this fashion.  Now, businesses and customers can pay and be paid in real time rather than waiting one business day or more. By combining the simplicity of banking accounts with the speed of a debit or credit transaction, businesses can truly enjoy the best of both worlds.

SEPA Instant Payments cannot be used by/for every business and/or transaction, however. While the limit for Instant Payments is €15,000, this covers the vast majority of transactions between businesses and consumers. Anything larger than this will need to be handled by more standard SEPA solutions. Currently, 34 European counties participate in the Instant Payments scheme; click here to see which countries are on the list.

It’s Secure, Easy and Inexpensive

When you move money via SEPA you will find that all transactions have a lower cost when compared to SWIFT something which traditional bank transfers and payments via services like Western Union and PayPal do not.  In order to make a SEPA payment, both banks also need to be SEPA compliant which adds a level of security to each transaction.  So you can make a payment that is inexpensive, fast and secure with ease, whenever you need to.  Finally, if you choose to work with a company like AccessPay, you can make use of their direct debit solution, simplifying the process further still.  It’s an especially good solution for businesses who make a lot of payments or collections each and every day.

Businesses have much to gain by utilising SEPA payments in one or more methods. With regular SEPA credit transfers and instant payment options available, businesses can easily serve the entire European continent, generate more sales and get paid more quickly. As such, this payment option is highly-attractive and will likely be inevitably adopted by virtually every online business within SEPA’s jurisdiction.

Whether businesses want to improve response times, develop more B2B connections or just operate more efficiently, SEPA offers these benefits and more to those who embrace it.