There has been a great deal of dissatisfaction regarding EU directives which affect contractors of late, specifically regarding the implementation of the Agency Workers Directive. However, another directive has emerged which could actually signal good news for contractors. The European Payment Services Directive, which came into force on Monday, means that contactless payments must be introduced throughout Europe within the next twelve months. This means that direct debits must be available for use throughout Europe, including inter-country payments.

This system has become possible due to the introduction of the Single European Payments Area (SEPA) which will negate the need for companies to have separate accounts in the Euro areas where they are conducting business. This was a costly system which often resulted in payment delays.

If all EU member states implement this new system it will mean that UK companies will be able to receive Euro payments into one bank account which can be held in any EU country chosen by that firm. There should be a standard level of service for the firm no matter which country the account is based in.

Capital Consulting commented that It contractors who regularly receive more than one payment per month for work throughout the EU will be amongst those who benefit most from this new directive.

They said: “For contractors working on the European market, this [directive] can only be seen as positive as it will help remove a small but important barrier to international mobility.”

Banks will now have twelve months to ensure that all of their systems are ‘SEPA-compliant’. Some small businesses may also need to alter their existing payment structures to reflect the new directive.

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