Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) in Lithuania PART II
Implementation of SEPA in Lithuania
When Lithuania joined SEPA, its payment markets became more open. Differences between domestic credit transfers and those to other SEPA countries ended in 2016. In other words, consumers and enterprises use the same payment order form. Standardization of the technical interface between banks and enterprises’ account systems allowed enterprises to optimize their internal payment processes. Because of this, it is easier for enterprises to switch payment service providers. After implementing SEPA requirements, national limitations regarding holding a payment account abroad were removed. Payment account owners in Lithuania obtained the right to receive their salary, social benefits or other payments to any opened account in whichever member country, or receive funds from payers that are residing in other member countries to their accounts opened with Lithuanian banks.
New payment services
Because of SEPA, new payment services were introduced in Lithuania. In 2016, Lithuanian payment service providers, instead of the national direct debit service that was used before, created and made possible to their customers a new e-invoice with automatic payment service. It is based on a one-stop-shop principle, therefore making it technically possible for enterprises to collect funds on a single account, despite which bank their payer holds an account. SEPA requirements also affect the collection of utility payments via specific payment forms in internet banking. In order to guarantee the efficiency of this service, the Lithuanian Standards Board’s technical specification was approved. The technical specification can be used by all payment service providers and parties interested. It also enforced the one-stop-shop principle for the collection of utility payments by using specialized internet banking forms. At first, consumers were unable to use SEPA direct debit, but now more and more payment service providers accept SEPA direct debit orders. In other words, payment service providers let their customers pay using direct debits for SEPA direct debit orders received from abroad.
In the next part we will discuss the restrictions against Russia regarding CENTROlink.
To find out more about the function of SEPA in Lithuania, please refer to our Baltic lawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org