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 2019

The joining and testing windows for the STEP2 Services in 2019 are the following:


Event Window 1 Window 2 Window 3
Deadline for participation* 14 December 2018 12 April 2019 06 September 2019
Start of connectivity testing 21 January 2019 22 April 2019 16 September 2019
Start of scripted testing 04 February 2019 06 May 2019 30 September 2019
First settlement date 09 April 2019 09 July 2019 10 December 2019 


Joining and Testing Windows 2020

The joining and testing windows for the STEP2 Services in 2020 are the following:


Event Window 1 Window 2 Window 3
Deadline for participation* 05 December 2019 17 April 2020 24 September 2020
Start of connectivity testing 16 December 2019 27 April 2020 05 October 2020
Start of scripted testing 13 January 2020 11 May 2020 19 October 2020
First settlement date 10 March 2020 07 July 2020 08 December 2020 


Change dates

Change dates for all STEP2 services are set by the below conditions:

  • There is a maximum of one change date per month.
  • It must be the first Tuesday of a month following an entire weekend (Saturday & Sunday).
  • The administrative deadline for legal and administrative documents to meet a change date is that of one month prior to the given date.
  • It shall not fall during the frozen period between the second week of December and the second week of January.


The following dates are agreed with SWIFT for the provisioning of the STEP2 database:

  • 10 September 2019
  • 8 October 2019
  • 5 November 2019
  • 10 December 2019
  • 14 January 2020
  • 4 February 2020
  • 10 March 2020
  • 7 April 2020
  • 5 May 2020
  • 9 June 2020
  • 7 July 2020
  • 4 August 2020
  • 8 September 2020
  • 6 October 2020
  • 10 November 2020
  • 8 December 2020

For the 2019 Change Dates for the Test&Training environment, please click here.

To download the STEP2 Change Dates for 2019 for the live environment, please click here.

For the 2020 Change Dates for the Test&Training environment, please click here.

To download the STEP2 Change Dates for 2020 for the live environment, please click here.

Exclusion, suspension and withdrawal from the STEP2-T system

The occurrence of a suspension or exclusion event and the consequences thereof for the suspended / excluded participant and for the other participants are determined solely in accordance with the STEP2 General Terms & Conditions. The systems’ rules are proprietary and confidential, and are available to all participants, to prospective participants that have applied for becoming a participant, and to relevant authorities including in particular the European Central Bank / Eurosystem as overseer of STEP2-T.

A Direct 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. insolvency

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


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 mitigated, e.g. in the case of relocation outside the EEA / SEPA.   

Withdrawal from the system

A STEP2-T Participant can withdraw from the system by giving notice – at least five processing days in advance – of terminating the Participant Processing Service Agreement, or the Accession Agreement.


For information on the STEP2-T pricing, please click here.