Participation in the STEP2 Card Clearing System is open to financial institutions having their registered office or a branch in the EEA (see below for further details). Admission rules and audit procedures are applicable to the STEP2 CC Applicant's technical and operational capability to operate in the system, as well as to its relation with its settlement bank where applicable.

Admission criteria

In order to fulfil the admission criteria for STEP2 Card Clearing System (‘STEP2 CC System’), a STEP2 Card Clearing Participant must: 

  1. be authorised to conduct banking business 
  2. have TARGET2 account access, i.e. (a) have a direct participant status in TARGET2 or the status of an indirect participant in TARGET2 with multi-addressee access, or (b) have a central bank which undertakes to provide a TARGET2 account for settlement for such STEP2 CC Participant 
  3. be able to send files in the required format, i.e. be able to send STEP2 CC Files in the format specified by EBA CLEARING 
  4. have its registered office or a branch in the EEA, i.e. participate in the system via an office located in the EEA 
  5. provide a capacity opinion, i.e. provide a capacity opinion with respect to its participation in the system 

STEP2 Card Clearing Participants may include entities which have a BIC (ISO9362) for which a STEP2 Card Clearing Participant has been appointed (a “Reachable BIC”) in the routing tables maintained for STEP2 CC System. Reachable BICs do not send or receive payment orders directly through STEP2 CC System; all payment orders are included in the files sent and received by the STEP2 Card Clearing Participants. The relationship between a STEP2 Card Clearing Participant and a Reachable BIC for which the STEP2 CC Participant is acting in relation to the receipt or forwarding of messages contained in files is exclusively governed by their respective bilateral arrangements and is outside of the context of the STEP2 CC System.

Exclusion, Suspension and withdrawal from the STEP2 CC System

A STEP2 CC Participant will be removed from the system by the System Operator in case of a confirmed insolvency event affecting the Direct Participant. 

Operational defaults will be addressed in first instance through the activation of incident handling and, as applicable, crisis management arrangements. 


Events that may give rise to exclusion comprise in particular: 

  1. termination of TARGET2 access 
  2. loss of banking license 
  3. opening of insolvency proceedings

A STEP2 CC Participant may also be excluded in case a suspension event has not been remedied within 30 calendar days.


The criteria for participation in STEP2 CC consist of necessary technical and operational requirements to enable sending and receiving of files, and requirements that are necessary to enable participation in the settlement arrangements. 

A STEP2 CC Participant may be suspended if non-compliance with the ongoing criteria for access and participation cannot be otherwise mitigated, e.g. in the case of relocation outside the EEA / SEPA.   

Withdrawal from the system

A STEP2 CC Participant can withdraw from the system by giving notice of terminating the STEP2 CC Participant Processing Service Agreement.


For information on the STEP2 CC pricing, please click here.