The European direct debit at a glance

The European direct debit (SEPA Direct Debit or SDD) came into operation at the end of 2009. There is a transition period during which it will co-exist alongside domestic direct debit mechanisms (in Belgium: DOM80). Following a decision by the European Parliament, domestic mechanisms will cease to be used from 1 February 2014.


A four-part model

The European direct debit is based on a four-part model:

  • the debtor (payer);
  • the creditor (recipient);
  • the debtor's bank;
  • the creditor's bank.



The mandate is the main difference as compared with the domestic direct debit system (DOM80). It is no longer an agreement between the debtor and the debtor's own bank, but between the creditor and the debtor. The creditor is now responsible for mandate management.

All about the direct debit mandate.


What this means, in practice.

  • A creditor, who wants to use European direct debits, enters into a contract with their bank.

  • The debtor gives the creditor a mandate to make a one-off or recurring withdrawal from the debtor's account.
  • The recipient informs the debtor that a withdrawal is going to be made from their account.
  • The recipient sends the mandate to their bank to execute an electronic withdrawal.
  • The recipient's bank transfers the instruction to the debtor's bank.
  • The debtor's bank withdraws the amount from the debtor's account.
  • The debtor's bank pays the amount to the recipient's bank.
  • The recipient's bank confirms receipt of the withdrawal to the recipient and credits their account.

The European direct debit at a glance


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