SEPA: Online purchases with direct debit still possible in Germany
"All indications are that with the emergence of the SEPA era over the coming year, webshop operators and their customers are not planning to give up paying with direct debit." Thus in a press release Stephan Tromp, deputy chief executive of the German Retail Federation (HDE), welcomed the clarification of the banking supervisory authority BaFin that the waiver of the signature in the SEPA Direct Debit scheme is not a punishable act under German credit law.
"The HDE lobbied the Federal Government to maintain the current simple online direct debit method; the fact that it successful in achieving this is made clear in the SEPA Implementation Act, that no signature is required to obtain a direct debit. As independent supervisory authority, BaFin will now follow the legislature. "Thereby the system of direct debits can be continued in good shape for years even under the new SEPA conditions."
Tromp stressed the importance of direct debit to e-commerce: "For customers, payment by direct debit is convenient and, at the same time, due to the possibility of chargeback, secure. The risk of purchase cancellation is reduced. This provides a cost-effective trading method with built-in buyer protection." The direct debit method is also attractive because it can be largely accomplished in-house and thus provides an alternative to the systems of commercial banks and payment providers.