Even though the two may sound quite similar, SEPA CT and Direct Debit are two different ways to send money and come with different requirements. Both support transactions in Euro, but the mechanism is distinct for each.

SEPA Credit Transfer is a simple money transfer, which only requires the recipient’s IBAN. It is most frequently used to make single payments for services or goods within the SEPA network. For instance, if a person living in Italy purchases an item from a supplier in the Netherlands, he can use SEPA Credit Transfer as a payment method. In most cases, the beneficiary receives the payment in one business day after the transaction is executed.

Alternatively, SEPA Direct Debit is managed by the customer’s bank, credit union or another money institution, on his behalf. This process works under the conditions of signed authorization.

Having a much simpler option like the SEPA Credit Transfer on the other side, this may sound too complicated, however, sending a Direct Debit payment doesn’t require immediate personal approval of every transaction by the customer.

Most of the Direct Debit transfers are recurring payments of a certain amount that are executed every month, or another set timeframe; they can also take the form of conditional cashless payments, like sending a particular amount to the beneficiary after the account balance hits an indicated threshold. Direct Debit is widely used to subscribe for services, pay debts or rent. Businesses heavily rely on this option, as lengthy contracts may include several predefined payments.