The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is an initiative of the EU governments, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB). SEPA provides conditions for enhanced competition in the provision of payment services to the benefit of both organisations and individuals.
The European Payment Council (EPC) website provides the most recent SEPA rulebooks. The rulebooks cover the payment options SEPA Credit Transfer and SEPA direct debit.
SEPA standardisation includes the use of International Bank Account Numbers (IBAN) and the Bank Identifier Code (BIC) for all transactions. ING customers are only required to use the IBAN for SEPA transactions.
The SEPA area currently comprises 45 countries, including the European Union member states (Eurozone and non-Eurozone members). There are a number of dependent territories of European member states that are also part of SEPA. The countries and territories can be recognised by their ISO code which is used in the BIC and IBAN.