The primary focus of the work of the ECSG is the 'SEPA Cards Standardisation Volume'. This infographic prepared in collaboration with the European Payments Council (EPC) supplies an introductory overview of the role of the Volume.

If you are a card stakeholder wishing to implement the requirements of the SCS Volume, at current the latest version of the Volume is version 8.0. You can find this latest release on a dedicated page here.

History of previous SCS Volume releases

The Volume has been an active document since 2009, originally owned and developed by the EPC. With the creation of the ECSG as an International not-for-profit association in 2016, the Intellectual Property Rights of the SCS Volume were transferred to the ECSG, with version 8.0 of the Volume being the first ECSG release.

For an overview of previous releases of the SCS Volume, please follow this link.

The concept of voluntary conformance with the SCS Volume
There is no legal obligation to implement the standardisation requirements detailed in the SCS Volume. Achieving conformance with the SCS Volume is a voluntary process. The ECSG specifically opted for the concept of conformance rather than compliance considering that alignment in SEPA with the SCS Volume is a voluntary decision by players active in the cards domain, and is not an obligation. Voluntary conformance of players active in the SEPA cards domain with the standardisation requirements detailed in the SCS Volume is comparable to what was done in Europe to achieve migration to EMV. (EMV is an industry standard to implement chip and personal identification number (PIN) security for card transactions to combat fraud.) In 2004, the industry made the voluntary commitment to migrate cards, points of sale (POS, i.e. terminals), and automated teller machines (ATMs) to EMV for security reasons.

Conformance with the SCS Volume based on self-declaration
Conforming to the standardisation requirements detailed in the SCS Volume version 8.0 reflects the voluntary self-declaration of a player active in the cards domain. To illustrate this: if a terminal manufacturer decides that their products and services will conform to the SCS Volume, (e.g. for commercial reasons), it implies that the manufacturer will undertake a process of alignment with all the relevant requirements that correspond to its activity. In this case, the manufacturer must ensure that the terminal passes the functional testing and certification processes necessary, as well as type approval by the card schemes. If and when a terminal meets the SCS Volume requirements based on these criteria, it may be termed ‘Volume-conformant’.

Maintenance of the SCS Volume
The SCS Volume consists of a series of separate books. This structure will facilitate future issuing of updated versions of the SCS Volume with amendments only to individual books as required. The SCS Volume structure also provides for the option to integrate further books addressing aspects other than those reflected in version 8.0. A full release of the SCS Volume, where all books are reviewed by the ECSG Expert Teams and updated, occurs every three years. Each full release will undergo a three-month public consultation period. The publication of the next full release of the SCS Volume is foreseen in 2020.

There may be the need to review certain aspects of a particular book in the interim due to reasons decided by the ECSG or to align the SCS Volume with new regulatory requirements. These smaller individual changes to certain aspects of a book or books will be released as part of a yearly bulletin. Yearly changes, announced in the form of a bulletin, undergo a shorter, one-month, market consultation. The implementation timelines for any changes to the SCS Volume released as part of a yearly bulletin will be simultaneously communicated

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