Paris, 28 January 2008

First SEPA Credit Transfers successfully processed in STEP2

SEPA Credit Transfer Service on EBA CLEARING’s PE-ACH platform goes live with close to 4,000 participating banks

EBA CLEARING announced today the successful start of the STEP2 SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) Service. The new service on EBA CLEARING’s Pan-European Automated Clearing House (PE-ACH) platform STEP2 provides inter-bank processing services of mass payments in euro to 104 direct participants and close to 4,000 indirect participants in 31 European countries. STEP2 SCT handles credit transfers that are fully compliant with the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme, which was launched today and marks the start of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

“We are very pleased to report that the SEPA Credit Transfer Service has started its operations on the STEP2 platform as planned and has been running very smoothly on this first day of SEPA processing,” said Giorgio Ferrero, Chairman of EBA CLEARING. “We are proud that we have been able to successfully and timely deliver this cornerstone of the new SEPA infrastructure for the financial industry in Europe in cooperation with our banks and our technical partner SIA-SSB.” 

On this first day of SEPA, 90 direct participants have sent payments through STEP2 SCT. Participant banks started to submit their payment files to STEP2 SCT on 25th January. At the start of the STEP2 system this morning, these payments were successfully routed, delivered and cleared; the transactions were settled in the EURO1 and STEP1 Services of EBA CLEARING. In order to ensure a smooth and timely launch of the STEP2 SCT Service at the start of SEPA, more than 100 banks had extensively tested the new service with EBA CLEARING and SIA-SSB in the second half of 2007. 

STEP2 is the first and so far only PE-ACH provider across Europe. A PE-ACH infrastructure has to be based on a country neutral governance model and must be able to reach banks throughout the 31 SEPA countries. As a PE-ACH service, STEP2 SCT is fully aligned with the EPC SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme Rulebook and Implementation Guidelines, as well as with the SEPA Data Model and the PE-ACH/CSM Framework.

STEP2 complies with the six Core Principles for Prominently Important Retail Payment Systems (PIRPS) and falls under the oversight of the European Central Bank. STEP2 SCT uses standard banking interfaces and global ISO XML standards.

The launch of a processing service for SEPA-compliant direct debit transactions will be the next step for the STEP2 platform. The STEP2 SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) Service, which was developed by EBA CLEARING with the help of 59 European banks, is ready for use and may go live as soon as one or several national communities across Europe have transposed the Payment Services Directive of the European legislators into their national law and decide to start using the service for their direct debit transactions.