Paris, 18 January 2022

STEP2 to process payments within minutes and around the clock

From November 2022, EBA CLEARING’s pan-European mass payment system will be upgraded to process SEPA transactions around the clock, seven days a week, and to provide settlement results to participating banks in minutes.

The planned upgrade will enable STEP2 participants to shorten end-to-end processing timelines for retail payments in euro from hours to minutes, for the benefit of European businesses and consumers. The concepts of the new tools and capabilities, which leverage existing file-based mechanisms that are well embedded into end-to-end processing flows, were communicated to STEP2 users and their providers today.

STEP2 processes on average 55 million SEPA credit transfers and direct debits per day. The system connects the more than 4,800 payment service providers operating in Europe and providing payment reach to end users across the continent.

“We are eager to put these brand-new tools into the hands of our large user community, so they can start to fully leverage the continuous gross settlement mechanism we introduced in STEP2 last year,” said David Renault, Head of STEP2 Services at EBA CLEARING. “Our users will be able to take advantage of the gains in output speed and availability that the upgraded system will offer and pass these benefits on to their customers.”

“The beauty of these better service levels is that both the banks and their corporate customers can continue to rely on the same highly resilient file-based payment channels and interfaces they are using for their mass payments today,” said Erwin Kulk, Head of Service Development and Management at EBA CLEARING.

He added: “Thanks to the STEP2 upgrade, large payment volumes can be reliably processed at near-real-time speed around the clock without any increase in processing costs or significant new investments. This will help PSPs across Europe focus their available resources and processing capacity for instant payments to those time-critical payments for which merchants and consumers are requesting innovative solutions, for example at the point of sale or in e-commerce.”  

STEP2 is a pan-European automated clearing house, processing mass payments in euro, which is owned and operated by EBA CLEARING, a European-owned, European-governed and European-regulated financial market infrastructure provider. As a cornerstone of the SEPA processing infrastructure, STEP2 provides full reach for SEPA credit transfers and direct debits across all countries of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). The system has been classified as a systemically important payment system by the European Central Bank since 2014 and is held to the highest oversight requirements.