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SEPA services

Finland is part of the the Single Euro Payments Area SEPA. Its rules and standards are maintained by the European Payments Council (EPC).

Finnish account numbers, MFI identifiers and BICs

Finnish account numbers are in the IBAN format. The account number includes a monetary financial institution (MFI) identifier, which denotes which financial institution the account number belongs to. Finance Finland (FFI) grants new MFI identifiers and keeps a list of active MFI identifiers and Bank Identifier Codes (BIC):

The list is updated whenever an identifier changes.

Domestic payments are transmitted as SEPA Credit Transfers

The payments are transmitted between banks through the SWIFT network via EBA Clearing and settled in TARGET2. 

Finnish SEPA Credit Transfer AOS

Finnish banks have agreed on the following Additional Optional Services (AOS) and national practices for SEPA Credit Transfers:

The additional optional services, national practices, and list of AOS banks are maintained by Finance Finland. Banks interested in joining the AOSs are asked to contact FFI by email to paymentsupport@financefinland.fi.

Banks operating in Finland offer various SEPA-related services listed here.

SEPA Instant Credit Transfer

The SEPA Instant Credit Transfer is being gradually implemented for fast credit transfers. The SEPA Instant Credit Transfer is available around the clock, every day of the year. It is transferred across SEPA, also across country borders, in ten seconds.

The general maximum amount for SEPA Instant Credit Transfer is €100,000 as of 1 July 2020, but banks operating in Finland have agreed on removing the upper limit for transfers within Finland.

Each bank decides on their own implementation timeline for SEPA Instant Credit Transfer. It will be offered in addition to standard credit transfers, not replacing them.

In Finland, the national POPS system is used in addition to SEPA for the time being. Urgent payments in the POPS system are completed within one hour during banking days.

ISO 20022 compliant payment material

The customer sends payment files to the bank according to the ISO 20022 message standard, usually via bank connection software. The ISO 20022 Payment Guide specifies Finnish SEPA AOS and business practices as they apply to customer-to-bank messages.

Account statement

The customer's account statement is available also in the ISO 20022 format. The Finnish SEPA AOS and business practices as they apply to ISO 20022 account reports are specified in the ISO 20022 Account Statement Guide and the ISO 20022 Transaction Reporting Guide. There is also an alternative for the ISO-based account statement: the national standard for electronic account statements and the list of incoming reference payments, which contains an itemized list of payments with a Finnish creditor reference that have been made on the invoicer's account. In the Finnish accounting practice, an electronic account statement received from a bank is a valid receipt when combined with the invoice documents that remain with the originator.

Communication links between customer and bank

The communication link between customer and bank is typically formed using the secure Web Services interface designed by Finnish banks. The connection is secured with a public key certificate. The requirements of the customer–bank link are specified in the Web Services Security and Message Specification. The document is published and maintained by Nordea, OP Group and Danske Bank. Banks also publish their own separate bank-specific documents

Payment cards

Payment cards issued by banks are mostly debit cards linked to accounts. All the cards issued by banks are international SEPA-compliant cards – most commonly MasterCards or Visa cards – and have an embedded chip to improve security.

A company willing to accept card payments must first make a contract with either a bank or another acquiring service provider. Instructions for accepting card payments are given by service providers.

SEPA Direct Debit

SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) allows a creditor to collect the invoice amount from a debtor's account through its bank in any SEPA country. Creditors can agree on the service with any SEPA bank that provides SDD creditor services. E-Invoicing is more commonly used in Finland instead of SEPA direct debits.

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