Total Belgium: Migrating to SEPA in phases

As SEPA frontrunner, Total Belgium started migrating its SEPA direct debit system (both B2B and B2C) as early as  2010. Adding to the challenge of migrating high volumes of direct debit mandates, the company aimed at minimizing any new credit risk or consequence. Together with Total Financial Global Services, Total Belgium is one of Total’s two pilot entities for SEPA. Their migration process will be used as models for the Group’s other European countries.

Key facts.

  • Total is the world’s 5th largest energy company.
  • Total Belgium operates solely in Belgium.
  • SEPA direct debits (SDD) amount to €1.6 billion each year.
  • Total Belgium holds a large database of 150.000 clients (both B2B and B2C).

Key Learnings.

  • Being a front runner means having the right banking resources at the right time.
  • A phased approach means reduced risks and complexity.
  • Involving IT in the process was one of the keys to success.
  • Relying on a single bank with SEPA makes it easier to control the credit risk thanks to an improved reporting on cardholder's debits.

Client Profile

Total Belgium is part of Total, a global energy group operating in more than 130 countries. The company conducts its activities in refining/marketing, chemicals and research. Within the Belgian distribution network, Total Belgium has a large database of clients (150,000 in both B2B and B2C) and manages over 70,000 direct debits.

"In addition to being the first bank to contact us on SEPA, the BNP Paribas team demonstrated a highly professional and committed approach and put the necessary resources into supporting our SEPA direct debit migration."

Nicky Saliën, Head of treasury Total Belgium —

Client Context

Total Belgium was BNP Paribas Fortis’ first corporate client to implement Swift. Before migrating to SEPA, the Group was looking for a banking partner with the right expertise and the ability to commit for the long-term.

Client challenges

Total is active in the marketing of oil products. Within this market they deal with significant amounts of money and consequently need a secure and quick way to manage their treasury, working capital and credit risks. Centralizing the direct debits with BNP Paribas (as opposed to dealing with three banks as had been done previously), has helped both the migration process and administration of the new treasury tool. 

BNP Paribas’ Solution

The SEPA direct debit scheme is particularly complex and migrating is time-consuming. Thanks to BNP Paribas’ on-boarding services, Total Belgium received expert support from start to finish. The BNP Paribas on-boarding and implementation support teams helped to plan and structure the migration project, providing support throughout the project’s implementation and its roll-out. They also centralised data related to the debtors’ mandate confirmation.


  • Enhanced reactivity in case of payment default.
  • Reduced banking costs.
  • Simplified banking relationships.