While many of the headlines highlighting the failure of European businesses to become SEPA compliant have focused on the cost and difficulty in upgrading systems to meet SEPA standards, the widespread delays may be attributable to cultural differences instead.
According to a draft proposal seen by EurActiv, the European Commission believes one of the main challenges with SEPA compliance is the varying payments habits across member states which reflect unique national traditions and behaviors. For example, in the United Kingdom, payment cards are used more often than any other EU country. In Italy, however, consumers still prefer using cash as their primary payment instrument and alternative payment methods have yet to take off.
Though the full extent of the cultural differences and how they impact SEPA adoption will not be revealed until the commission releases its Payment Services Directive update, it is not good news the organization is expanding its search to discover the root of the slow SEPA compliance. The commission’s update will likely only reconfirm that the majority of European business (especially small and medium sized firms) will not be ready by the early 2014 deadline.
Click here to read more from Euractiv.