Paris, 25 October 2007

EBA CLEARING banks get ready for SEPA

103 banks are finalising their preparations to use PE-ACH as of 28th January 2008

EBA CLEARING announced today that 103 banks are presently participating in a testing program offered by EBA CLEARING on its STEP2 pan-European ACH (PE-ACH) platform. Among the testing participants are all the major banks in Europe, as well as a broad sample of small and medium-sized banks.

John Broxis, SEPA Testing Project Manager, said: “Testing has been going extremely well, with no specific problems to report”. This means that there are no technical obstacles for EBA CLEARING to launch its STEP2 SEPA Services on 28th January 2008 – the earliest date possible for SEPA payments.

The purpose of the STEP2 SEPA Testing Program is to allow banks and their customers to exchange and settle payments on the platform with each other, thereby fulfilling “Self Assessment Level 4” for end-to-end testing, which is the highest level under the EPC SEPA Testing Framework. It also allows the STEP2 user community to demonstrate that the software, networks, operation and business practices work in an environment that is as near to live operation as possible.

The SCT Service on the STEP2 platform offers financial institutions an interbank processing service which will route, deliver, clear and settle SEPA Credit Transfers to all adhering banks in SEPA, in a secure and reliable framework that is compliant with the EPC Rulebook and Implementation Guidelines, as well as the CSM Framework, using standard banking interfaces and global ISO XML standards.

12 banks are also successfully testing the STEP2 SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) Service in advance of live processing.

STEP2 is the first and so far only pan-European ACH (PE-ACH) that connects banks across the entire Single Euro Payments Area. It complies with the six core principles for Prominently Important Retail Payment Systems (PIRPS) and falls under the oversight of the European Central Bank.

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