SEPA Direct Debit

SEPA Direct Debit is a payment instrument for initiating domestic and cross-border collections uniformly in euros throughout all SEPA countries.

ING currently offers SEPA Direct Debit initiation in 12 countries in the SEPA area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain. SEPA Direct Debit enables businesses to collect money in the SEPA area from a single country and a single account. SEPA Direct Debit is a cost-effective and efficient product that allows the creditor to easily manage and predict his or her liquidity position. There are two different types of SEPA Direct Debit schemes available: the SEPA Direct Debit Core for collections from consumers and businesses, and Business-to-Business (B2B) for collections solely from businesses.


SEPA Direct Debit Core

SEPA Direct Debit Core can be used for consumers and organisations. The SEPA Direct Debit Core can be one-off or a recurrent collection. An eight week period of unconditional refund for the debtor applies.


SEPA Direct Debit B2B

The SEPA Direct Debit B2B can only be used by and between businesses. There is no right of refund for the debtor after the SEPA Direct Debit B2B is processed which provides considerably more certainty for the creditor. To minimise the risk on the debtor side, the debtor is required to make a registration (consent) of the mandate at the debtor’s bank. Because B2B is an optional scheme, not all banks, and hence not all businesses, can be reached. To ensure collection from your customers, ING offers both a Core and B2B contract to all ING customers.  


Initiation formats SEPA direct debit

The initiation XML format for SEPA Direct Debit is a standardised format (EPC guidelines: XML ISO 20022, pain.008.001.02). The formats of XML initiation files for SEPA Direct Debit can differ between countries and banks. Each country has his own specific guideline for SEPA Direct Debit Core and B2B initiation formats. For more information, see initiation formats or get in touch with our local office.


SEPA Direct Debit - Pre-requisites
In general, the following prerequisites apply for creditors using SEPA Direct Debit products:

  • A signed SEPA Direct Debit contract between the creditor and ING. Contact your local office for the country-specific details of a SEPA Direct Debit contract.

  • As a creditor, you need to obtain a creditor identifier (id). This identification is a unique combination of characters and must be stable in time to enable the debtor to return to the creditor for any (unauthorised) transactions, complaints, etc. The composition and application process of the creditor id differs per country.

  • There must be an agreement between debtor and creditor. This is called a SEPA mandate and is issued by the creditor. The SEPA mandate includes specific compulsory SEPA content.

As a creditor, you need to inform your debtors about forthcoming direct debits to their account through a pre-notification at least 14 days in advance. Debtors and creditors may agree to other time limits if they wish. For example, with a recurrent direct debit, parties can agree to only send a pre-notification once a year.

There are no rules concerning the format of the pre-notification, so the debtor and the creditor can agree on how it will be sent. For example, it could be a message on the invoice in which states the collection date.

Because the debtor must also be informed of the creditor id and mandate reference before the first direct debit, we advise you to mention these in the pre-notification.


SEPA Direct Debit mandate
There are different templates  available for mandates SEPA Direct Debit Core, Cor1 and B2B per country. You can also design your own mandate.

The European Payment Council has not determined rules on the lay-out of SEPA mandates, but it is compulsory to show the following information for the SEPA Direct Debit Core and B2B:

  • SEPA logo or word "SEPA"
  • Mandate reference, to be filled in by the creditor
  • Text in which the debtor authorises the creditor and his own bank to withdraw money from his bank account
  • Creditor name, address and country
  • Creditor ID
  • Debtor’s account number (IBAN)
  • Debtor’s BIC
  • Debtor’s name, address and country
  • Place and date of signing
  • Debtor’s signature
  • For a recurrent mandate:
     - State that it is a continuous mandate
     - Refund period & explanation
  • For a one-off mandate:
     - State that it is a one-off mandate
     - Refund period & explanation

On the website you will find some examples of mandate lay-outs for different countries.

Both debtor and creditor are responsible for implementing changes to mandates. Mandates must be changed for any of the reasons stated below. These changes must also be communicated to the debtor, making it clear who the payee is to avoid potential disputes when collecting payments:

  1. The creditor changes the unique characteristics of the mandate because of internal organisational changes or restructuring.
  2. The creditor has begun using a new creditor ID. The changes may occur following a merger, take over, separation or a major restructuring.
  3. The creditor has changed names.

The following reasons apply to changes in a mandate, in these instances the debtor initiates the changes and needs to inform the creditor.

  1. The debtor changes bank account at the same bank.
  2. The debtor changes banks and therefore the account number also changes.

The creditor must always put all changes in writing, record them and provide them when the next payment is due. Details of the changes are to be provided by adding the old and new information to the mandate within the XML message.

There are various services available in het market for mandate management services. These companies offer to maintain and supply the mandates for the SEPA Direct Debit.


The mandate reference is a distinguishing number that is generated by the merchant and which must be added to the SEPA mandate.

There are no rules that determine the creation of the mandate reference, which can be developed by the creditor themselves. However, it must comply with the following two criteria:

  • The mandate reference, in combination with the Creditor ID, must form a unique combination. This makes every mandate unique and easily traceable.
  • It can contain no more than 35 characters.

If the debtor withdraws the mandate, then the creditor no longer has the right to collect the payment. For SEPA Direct Debit Core, it is not compulsory for the debtor to register the mandate with the bank. This obligation only applies to SEPA Direct Debit B2B. The scheme has no rules requiring a creditor to be informed by the bank when a debtor withdraws their mandate. The withdrawal of a mandate is normally the result of a contract between creditor and debtor coming to an end.

For SEPA Direct Debit B2B the following rule applies:
If the mandate is no longer registered and the bank receives a request for a SEPA Direct Debit B2B, then the debtor’s bank will not accept the request and no money will be transferred to the creditor.

It is also possible for the debtor to freeze his account number for a specific creditor or for all collections on a specific account number. To disable collections on your account number or for a specific creditor, contact your local ING office.

Mandate related information (MRI) is information that the creditor must transmit to the creditor bank along with each collection. This is the information from the mandate that is digitalised by the creditor. The following details are compulsory MRI:

  • Creditor ID
  • Mandate reference
  • Debtor’s IBAN and BIC
  • Debtor’s name and address
  • Date of signing
  • Type of mandate (recurrent or one off)

The SEPA Direct Debit consists of the following sequence types:

  • One Off
  • Recurrent (optional usage of sequence type First)
  • Last


Failed SEPA Direct Debit transactions and R-messages

An important aspect of the SEPA Direct Debit is the processing of failed transactions. To address this, R-messages are used in the account reporting (camt.05x, MT94x) to indicate why a transaction could not be processed. An R-message consists of a Reason Code indicating the ‘why’ and Reason type illustrating the type of R- message. The different possible 'R' messages are: (pre-settlement) request for cancellation, request for revocation, refusal, reject, (after settlement) refund, reversal and return. These reporting functionalities of the SEPA Direct Debit are explained here.

If your debtor has insufficient funds, you will receive an R-message that notifies you that the debit transaction was not processed successfully, subsequently you have to re-submit the transaction.

Please note that in most cases this concerns the R-message: AM04 (the Netherlands, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain). But in Belgium, Germany and Austria ING reports MS03 due to regulatory reasons.

Participating banks

Banks that offered domestic direct debits on the debtor side prior to the introduction of SEPA Direct Debits are obliged to be reachable in the SEPA Direct Debit scheme. It is important therefore to verify which banks are reachable for SEPA Direct Debit Core and SEPA Direct Debit B2B.

The SEPA Direct Debit B2B scheme is optional and banks can decide whether to offer this service or not on the debtor side. Each bank can choose whether to offer services to creditors.

ING offers the SEPA Direct Debit B2B. A list of other banks that currently offer direct debits on the debtor side can be found at

Closing days

TARGET2 is open for the processing of payments every working day from 07:00 to 18:00 CET. The system is closed on the following days:

  • 1 January (New Year's Day)
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • 1 May (Labour Day)
  • 25 December (Christmas Day)
  • 26 December