EU – SEPA Conversion Expert

Joe D

It’s interesting to watch how SEPA has finally captured the attention of the payment community and at long last is bringing some welcome changes to the European transaction landscape. But what does the roll-out really mean for those selling to EU consumers online? What is SEPA direct debit; how does it work, what are the advantages, limitations and liabilities? How does it compare to other forms of debit? How does the Merchant offer it?

As the owner or payments director of an online site attracting European traffic, it’s vital that you know more about non-card payments – and that includes more than just placing a specific capability or platform on your sites. That strategy reminds me of the old ‘build it and they will come’ Internet website analogy – just adding a payment option to your check-out is not necessarily going to improve your sales, or find you suddenly with volume through that new method.

The European Union is a huge market, and has even less in common with the United States than you might think. The institution of the SEPA banking scheme is just one aspect of what is happening. Your online operation must still consider local language, customs, habits, currencies and education as you consider how to tap into this vast population which once completely online will be significantly larger than the US market. 

Do you know the difference between domestic direct debit and SEPA direct debit? Which would you suppose converts better? Are you considering adding non-card methods to your credit card capability? Have you added non-card join options and been disappointed in the results? Every implementation is different. Everyone has a different traffic mix. How do you present the option? How do you pay affiliates on the option? What is direct pay? What is a banking transfer and how is it different from the other two? Are they interchangeable? When can I do recurring billing, and when not? What is right for your business?

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