Experian analysis of over half a million records bank account records held by businesses around Europe has revealed that 12 per cent of electronic payments made to and from businesses in Euros currently contain data errors that could critically block the timely and cost-effective transfer of funds when new legislation for SEPA payments first comes into effect in February 2014. Only 65 per cent of Euro transactions are underpinned by fully accurate destination account data.
It has also found that 45 per cent of new SEPA-compliant International Bank Account Numbers (IBANs) stored by large European businesses do not have the valid corresponding Bank Identifier Codes (BICs) required to enable successful completion of transactions.
Experian has warned that these same error types will lead to payment failure when made through SEPA, costing businesses approximately 50 for each failed transaction, and leaving a total bill of more than 20 billion a year. An average error rate of around one in eight equates to a potential cost of 600,000 for an organisation transacting with 100,000 bank accounts.
Jonathan Williams, Director of Payment Strategy at Experian, commented: “The SEPA initiative is a key component to strengthening the financial foundations of the Eurozone with improved and more efficient end-to-end straight-through processing of payments. While SEPA will undoubtedly benefit organisations trading in Euros, errors in bank account details held by European businesses risk causing significant teething problems as locally implemented fixes – which have largely worked so far – are made redundant by the new common payments system.