Everything you need to know about SEPA direct debit in France
1 February 2014 marks the end of existing national euro credit transfers and direct debit schemes to make way for SEPA transactions.
Direct debit is often used for recurrent payments related to telephone, television, electricity, taxes, rent etc. How will these changes affect you?
What will change with your existing direct debits? If you already have ongoing direct debits, you don’t need to take any action. Existing direct debit authorisations you’ve already signed are still valid. The beneficiaries will inform you when the new SEPA direct debits will be collected from your account.
What will change with new direct debits? If you want to set up a new direct debit, the beneficiary will ask you to sign a SEPA Direct Debit Mandate. It formalises your agreement and authorises the beneficiary to ask your bank to debit your account with the amount due. You no longer have to send it to your bank. It must be completed and signed by you and returned only to the beneficiary who will retain it. However, it is recommended that you keep a copy for yourself.
How to cancel a SEPA direct debit? If you want to terminate your agreement, you must cancel the SEPA Direct Debit Mandate by sending a letter to the beneficiary. Unlike a direct debit refusal, which only relates to one transaction, cancellation is final and unlimited; the mandate you have signed will no longer be valid.
How to refuse a SEPA direct debit? If you want to refuse a future direct debit based on the information received through the pre-notification from the creditor, you must instruct you bank before the payment date.
Is it possible to dispute an authorised SEPA payment? Has an incorrect amount been withdrawn by one of your creditors? As with the existing direct debit system, you can dispute the specific debit. You can dispute an authorised claim within 8 weeks of the debit appearing on your account. This is done by contacting your branch.
How to refund an unauthorised SEPA payment? You can dispute a payment which you have not authorised (for example, if the relevant mandate had expired or had been previously cancelled) within a maximum period of 13 months following the date of withdrawal from your account. This is done by contacting your branch. The legislation provides for an appeal to be made. The creditor must then prove the validity of the mandate. In case of an invalid or a non-existent mandate, the bank will re-credit your account with the amount of the unauthorised transaction.
What will happen if these are insufficient funds on my account? You must ensure that sufficient funds are available on your account no later than 9.00 a.m. on the day of collection. If there are insufficient funds on the date of withdrawal, the payment will be rejected without prior information and bank charges may be applied.
Can I restrict direct debits on my accounts? An account holder (debtor) has the option to state that their accounts cannot be used for collections. This can be done for an individual account or for all of the customer’s accounts.
Customer level:The customer defines whether accounts are to be Open, Closed or Restricted. If a limit is set at customer level, it applies to all accounts belonging to the debtor.
Account level:It is also possible to register limits at account level. If this is done, the limit is only applied to the selected account.