How does STEP1 work?

STEP1 processes same-day single payments for retail and commercial transactions.

A STEP1 Participant’s position resulting from processed payment messages can never be negative, i.e., STEP1 Participants effectively have a zero-debit cap. STEP1 Participants settle their daily balances via a EURO1 Participant of their choice, which acts as their settlement bank, providing liquidity against the potential net balance but never seeing the individual payments constituting these balances.

Cut-off time and processing cycle

STEP1 cut-off-time and processing cycles

Payments exchanged in STEP1 are for amounts that do not create the need for systemic risk protection. If a single STEP1 message exceeds the limit per transaction of either the sending bank or the receiving bank, it is rejected by STEP1. The minimum limit is EUR 2 million and the maximum limit is EUR 50 million. Any payment that does not exceed this amount but would result in a limit breach due to the current balance of the sender and/or receiver banks is put in an on-hold queue. This queue is continuously revisited during the opening hours of STEP1. Depending on the bilateral agreement between a STEP1 Participant and its settlement bank, the liquidity required to ensure the processing of on-hold payments can be injected into STEP1 intra-day whenever necessary.