THE CONDITIONS for making domestic and foreign payments in Slovakia will unify with the rest of the European Union and another five European countries as of February, when the so-called SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) is implemented. This means that everyone will be able to send and receive payments in euros in the selected areas.

The aim of SEPA is to remove differences in payment systems as they have been very fragmented among the countries, said Karol Mrva, executive director of the financial market operations department of the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS), as reported by the SITA newswire.

“SEPA will significantly simplify the life of companies since they will have only one form of payment, and within a bank they will have the same conditions, [and] the payment will be attributed to the receiver’s account very quickly,” Mrva told the press on January 20, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Mrva added that the system will also benefit ordinary people, as they will make payments through a single payment order.

The biggest changes will apply to money orders used to pay recurring bills. As of February 1, companies that collect such payments, like electricity and gas providers, will need their customers’ consent before they can deposit the payments. Currently the customer has to give the consent to the bank. Existing consents with money orders will, however, remain valid, Peter Holička, general director of the payment systems department of the NBS, stressed.

After the changes come into effect, Slovakia will use the number of the account in international IBAN format, which will have 24 symbols. This is four symbols more than what Slovakia uses now, Holička said, as cited by TASR.