STEP2 offers different processing modes depending on the requirements of sender and receiver:
- All banks are included by default in the Bulk Payment Processing mode.
- Banks may optionally join the Batch Processing mode in addition, which is applied only to designated payment files exchanged with nominated counterparties and offered at considerably lower cost.
Banks opting for the use of STEP2 to exchange high volumes of SEPA payments can additionally benefit from a committed volume pricing (CVP) pricing option, which further reduces their transaction fees for both single and batch processing modes.
Both processing methods offer secure and reliable payment processing. The Bulk Payment Processing mode is adapted for cross-border usage, since it includes carrying out a wide range of business validation at the level of STEP2. The Batch Processing mode is useful for the exchange of large volumes of domestic and/or recurrent payments among a smaller group of banks.
Sorting and validation differences
Sorting: In the Bulk Payment Processing mode, a file can contain bulks where all the receivers are mixed together. STEP2 will store all the payments individually and then recreate new output files, one for each receiving bank.
In the Batch Processing mode, the sending bank will sort and group payments for counterparties with whom they have agreed to exchange payments in this mode. As a result, STEP2 does not have to re-sort millions of payments into new files: after the necessary checks, the system simply delivers to the receiving parties the pre-sorted files submitted by the sending participant.
Single Payment Processing and Batch Processing modes
Validation checks for both modes: STEP2 provides real-time validation of files, reporting back for each file whether the payments inside have been accepted for processing or rejected. STEP2 checks that:
- the file is encrypted, signed and received over a secure network, which supports non-repudiation
- the security credentials of the sender are correct by validating them against stored business data
- the same file has not been previously sent
- the receiver of the payments is present in the respective STEP2 routing table with the correct status
- the number of payments in the file is the same as the number of payments reported in the file header
- the amount in the file header equals the sum of the amounts in the individual transactions
- the XML schema format is respected
- STEP2 ensures that:
- mandatory fields are present
- no forbidden fields are present
- field lengths are respected
- field formats are respected