EBICS and bank/company exchanges using SEPAmail™

On the initiative of large French banks (BPCE, CM-CIC, Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole), SEPAmail™ has been designed to facilitate electronic exchanges between economic institutions of non-accounting documents for payments such as invoices, mandates, advices etc., using flows. This secure messaging system between banks therefore allows traditional payment operations (transfers, debits, etc.) to be carried out with new payment services geared towards client use.

This includes:
  • Settlement by paperless invoice
  • Reliability of IBAN and combating fraud on IBAN
For detailed information on SEPAmail™, please visit the website at www.sepamail.eu.
Using the 4-corner model forming the basis of the SEPAmail™ standard, exchanges can be divided into two main types:
  • interbank exchanges performed solely in message mode (known as “missives” in SEPAmail™ terminology): web service or S/MIME
  • bank/company exchanges, for which the exchange of files is specially adapted.
It is this exchange channel of files that PPI France became interested in, at a very early stage, with SEPAmail™. From December 2012 it actively participated in experiments aiming to prove the adequacy of EBICS in sending SEPAmail™ bi-directionally.
The trials particularly consisted of:
  • Sending a missive and a batch of missives for transferring orders using the FUL order type,
  • Recovering a missive and a batch of missives of processing acknowledgements from the transfer of a file of type pain.002, via the PSR order type.
  • And up- and downloading a batch of missives of operation statements using the FDL order type.
With the usual configurations having been performed for the client installation and the bank server (TRAVIC software), the exchanges could be carried out and therefore demonstrated the possibility for both banks and clients to use their EBICS installations to proceed to SEPAmail™ exchanges.
These experiments enabled us to make some proposals, notably:
  • drafting a document simplifying the naming of files,
  • drafting an implementation guide for SEPAmail™ with EBICS, for use by banks, companies and service providers.
Certain providers and trusted operators have also recognised very quickly the interest in suggesting a SEPAmail™ offer supporting the EBICS channel. This is particularly the case with GFI which proposes the first complete solution complying with the standard for its bank or company clients.

“The strategy of our offer revolves around three fundamental principles:
  • simplicity: minimum impact on the information system of our clients
  • efficiency: optimised time to market
  • cost control: minimising clients’ initial investments to make it easier to put the ecosystem in place
From this, the benefits of using the EBICS channel can be seen clearly. This channel guarantees, in effect, the levels of security and traceability needed for SEPAmail™ exchanges, while also relying on the mechanisms known and mastered by our clients with regard to exchanges between the bank and the company”, explains Lionel Chemla, director of the SEPAmail™ offer of Gfi.

And just like EBICS – which is now being widely used, not only in Germany and France, but also in Portugal, Switzerland, Austria and, soon, other European countries – SEPAmail™, conforming to ISO20022, will no doubt in future be of interest to European economic institutions situated outside France...

Marc Dutech
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