Boston, Frankfurt and Paris, 30 September 2014

Deutsche Bundesbank and EBA CLEARING to deliver new card clearing infrastructure for German banks

The co-operation between the two providers will enable full reach across Germany for the XML-based clearing of payments originating from GIROCARD transactions

The Deutsche Bundesbank and EBA CLEARING are rolling out new infrastructure services on the German market for the clearing of payments arising from debit card transactions.

As the two organisations jointly announced at the Sibos conference in Boston today, their services together will provide full reach to the German banking community for card clearing based on the German GIROCARD scheme and on the pan-European SEPA Card Clearing Framework developed by the Berlin Group.

Together with the user community, the Deutsche Bundesbank and EBA CLEARING have been working over the past year on preparing the ground for the practical implementation of these infrastructure services. One key objective of this co-operation has been to ensure that future users can smoothly exchange transaction messages with one another, regardless of whether they are connected to the same clearing service or not. It is planned that the German banks will migrate to this new card clearing infrastructure in April 2015.

“The implementation of XML-based card clearing infrastructure enables the German banks to leverage their SEPA investments: it allows them to migrate their card payments to state-of-the-art processing systems based on pan-European standards,” said Jochen Metzger, Head of the Department Payments and Settlement Systems, Deutsche Bundesbank. He further stated:

“The Deutsche Bundesbank supports this evolution through the delivery of a card clearing service on its SEPA-Clearer platform. Thanks to the co-operation between the Deutsche Bundesbank and EBA CLEARING, the banks will benefit from Germany-wide coverage and a seamless user experience from the start.”

“By joining forces with the Deutsche Bundesbank and our users from the early stages of this infrastructure initiative on, we have been able to develop a card clearing service that optimally responds to the requirements of our users in terms of efficiency, cost-effectiveness and reach,” said Gilbert Lichter, Chief Executive Officer, EBA CLEARING.

“Given the pan-European framework it is based on, we look forward to marketing this new STEP2 service to other communities across SEPA.”

The SEPA Card Clearing Framework was developed by the Berlin Group, a group of 27 major players in the card industry from 25 countries in and beyond the Eurozone; the aim of the Berlin Group is to standardise card clearing across Europe by leveraging SEPA infrastructure. 

The card clearing services offered by the Deutsche Bundesbank and EBA CLEARING will enable their respective user banks to re-use the interfaces and bank-internal systems they have put in place for SEPA Direct Debits for the processing and clearing of pre-authorised card transactions based on the specifications of the German GIROCARD scheme. This approach is in line with the migration plan created by Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft (DK), which is the body of the German banking industry defining standardised rules for payments and card payment schemes and the owner of the GIROCARD scheme.

Introducing XML-based card clearing services will allow the German community to discontinue its legacy processing channels, as card clearing is one of the last payment streams still handled using the legacy formats after the migration of legacy credit transfers and direct debits to the SEPA instruments and channels.

About the Deutsche Bundesbank

The Deutsche Bundesbank is the central bank of the Federal Republic of Germany. Eurosystem monetary policy is its core business area. Other core business areas include the financial and monetary system, banking supervision, cash operations and cashless payments.

In cashless payments, the Deutsche Bundesbank fulfils its statutory mandate to provide for the smooth processing of payments in Germany and abroad. To this end, it has gained unparalleled expertise by operating own payment and settlement systems for decades.

In the field of retail payments processing, the Deutsche Bundesbank offers a competitively neutral, high-performance and cost-effective payment system for interbank payments to all banks in the shape of its Retail Payment System (RPS). The SEPA-Clearer, which is part of the RPS, serves to support the processing of domestic and cross-border SEPA payments. In order to guarantee full reachability of payment service providers, the SEPAClearer is connected with the STEP2 platform and the payment system of other SEPA scheme-compliant clearing houses.

Together with two other Eurosystem central banks, the Deutsche Bundesbank developed the Europe-wide TARGET2 system, which set the standard for processing urgent individual intrabank payments and executing monetary policy operations. Since November 2007, TARGET2 has been jointly operated by these three banks.

With TARGET2-Securities (T2S) the Eurosystem intends to offer a new, harmonised and centralised method of settling securities in central bank money. On 17 July 2008, the Governing Council of the European Central Bank entrusted the Deutsche Bundesbank and three other Eurosystem central banks with the development and the operation of the platform. T2S will start operations in June 2015.

For additional information about the Deutsche Bundesbank, please visit


EBA CLEARING is a provider of pan-European payment infrastructure solutions. The Company was founded in 1998 and is owned by 62 of the major banks operating in Europe.

EBA CLEARING manages the large-value payment system EURO1 as well as STEP1, a payment service for commercial transactions.

Since 2003, EBA CLEARING has also managed the STEP2 platform, together with SIA as a technology partner.

STEP2 is a pan-European payment infrastructure for mass payments (PanEuropean Automated Clearing House – PE-ACH) providing full reach to all financial institutions across Europe processing credit transfers and direct debits in euro. More than 4,800 financial institutions in 34 countries are reachable via STEP2.

Apart from cross-border transactions, the STEP2 platform processes domestic payments for the banking communities in Estonia, Finland, Luxembourg and Ireland as well as for numerous major banks in other countries, e.g. Germany and Italy.

The STEP2 balances are settled via TARGET2.

For additional information about EBA CLEARING, please visit