Blue chip professional skills from an independent

SEPA payfile


SEPA (Single European Payment Area) will be reasonably familiar to most people by now. In the UK it is effectively the replacement for BACS; it provides a common standard for payment file formats across Europe and further afield. At the technical level it comes from the ISO20022 standards*.

In our experience, the UK was behind the rest of Europe in electronic payment formats; the landscape was very fragmented, and allowed third parties to add value by mandating a single payment format, which they could then process into the format required by a specific bank. It was often the case that a particular bank would itself have many valid formats, which just increased the complexity. The rest of Europe was often much better organised; in any case SEPA is intended to unify matters. Within its mandated format, there is scope for worldwide electronic payment formats as well.

* For anyone really keen, there is even a (free) ISO20022 for dummies book - for details.


The software produced a pay file in SEPA format, specifically for entry into the Belgium banking system via Isabel ( for details, and for broader information). This included full audit reports and checksums for minimising the risk of fraudulent activity.

This is in XML format, and was from the CODA data transfer tables. It was integrated into another piece of software we produced, that controlled pay runs within CODA - see elsewhere for details.

CODA and pay files

CODA comes with a pay file generation engine. This is very flexible, and is fully open for end users to operate, and design their own pay files.

The latest version of CODA, v12, is delivered with some example SEPA formats, that are fully functional. If they are not what is needed out of the box then we can assist you in building exactly what you do need.