Admission criteria and default rules


In order to fulfil the admission criteria for STEP2, a Direct 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 Direct Participant

3. be able to send files in the required format, i.e. be able to send STEP2 Files in the format specified by EBA CLEARING;

4. have its registered office or a branch in the EEA / SEPA, i.e. participate in the system via an office located in the EEA or, for the SEPA Services, in the geographical area of SEPA

5. provide a capacity opinion, i.e. provide a capacity opinion with respect to its participation for each STEP2 Service it participates in.

In addition to the above, for each of the STEP2 SEPA Services (SCT, SDD Core and SDD B2B), it is a condition for admission to a given service that the applicant has adhered to the corresponding SEPA Scheme Rulebook of the European Payment Council.

Direct Participants may include entities which have a BIC (ISO9362) for which a Direct Participant has been appointed (a “Reachable BIC”) in the routing tables maintained for STEP2. Reachable BICs do not send or receive payment orders directly through STEP2; all payment orders are included in the files sent and received by the Direct Participants. The relationship between a Direct Participant and a Reachable BIC for which the Direct 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-T system.

Joining and Testing Windows 2018

The joining and testing windows for STEP2 SDD Core are the following:


Event Window 1 Window 2 Window 3
Deadline for participation* 14 December 2017 13 April 2018 21 September 2018
Start of connectivity testing 29 January 2018 23 April 2018 1 October 2018
Start of scripted testing 12 February 2018 7 May 2018 15 October 2018
First settlement date 10 April 2018 10 July 2018 4 December 2018 

* Prior to this date, T&T DMRF form has to be included in the Central System and all the documents related to the selected network connection have to be approved by the relevant authority (either SWIFT for SWIFTNet, SIA for SIANet or EBA CLEARING for EBICS)

To download the STEP2 SDD Joining Windows 2017, please click here.

Change Dates 2017

The following change dates apply in 2017:

  • 5 December 2017
  • 9 January 2018
  • 6 February 2018
  • 6 March 2018
  • 10 April 2018
  • 8 May 2018
  • 5 June 2018
  • 10 July 2018
  • 7 August 2018
  • 4 September 2018
  • 9 October 2018
  • 6 November 2018
  • 4 December 2018

To download the STEP2 SDD Change Dates for 2017 for the live environment, please click here.

For the 2017 Change Dates for the Test&Training environment, please click here.

To download the STEP2 SDD Change Dates for 2018 for the live environment, please click here.

Default rules

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. insolvency

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


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

In case of a resolution of a Participant or a resoluion measure by a competent authority, the affected Participant shall not be suspended or excluded from the system in accordance with the provisions of the Bank Resolution and Recovery Directive or equivalent legislation.