Electronic fund transfers of the public authorities
Austrian citizens have modern, innovative ways to transact payments with the Austrian public authorities. It is possible to make payments on the spot with debit cards, credit cards,“quick function” cards and – in some cases – even by mobile phone. Payment requests can be complied with online by bank transfer, credit card, mobile phone, “quick function” card and EPS online transfer (this is a service of the Austrian banking institutions). It is also possible to make payments by telephone order. Telephone orders are payments by credit card which are placed in writing or over the telephone.
The IT section of the Federal Ministry of Finance is responsible for the federal government’s entire payment transactions and in this role provides support to the entirety of the Austrian federal administrative authorities.
Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)
Since the creation of the European Economic and Monetary Union, the EU has promoted harmonisation of European payment transactions.
The intention is to eliminate differences between national and international payment transactions incrementally, with the objective of creating a standardised European payment transaction zone.
The intention of SEPA is to enable payments in euros, within the EU area, to be carried out by means of standardised payment tools (SEPA transfers, SEPA direct debits, SEPA card payments) just as simply, efficiently and securely as payments in the national banking system area. Over time, the intention is for national tools and standards to be discontinued incrementally, ultimately migrating to exclusive use of SEPA tools.
The SEPA system was launched in 2008, with the roll out of SEPA bank transfers. In November 2009, the SEPA direct debit procedure was introduced. By 2012, the intention is that the conversion to SEPA should be fully finalised.
All 27 Member States of the European Union, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Monaco participate in the SEPA system. In Austria, the development and implementation of uniform standards for European payment transactions is handled by the Austrian Payments Council. The federal government takes a pioneering role in this process.