In order to fulfil the admission criteria for STEP2, a participant must:
- be authorised to act as a credit institution
- either: (i) have TARGET2 account access, i.e. have the status of a direct participant in TARGET2 and hold and have access to an account with the central bank operating the respective TARGET2 component system or (ii) have an agreement with a liquidity provider that has the status of a direct participant in TARGET2 and holds and has access to an account with the central bank operating the respective TARGET2 component system
- be able to comply with the technical and operational requirements of the STEP2-T System, including requirements aiming at ensuring availability of the STEP2 Participant during the operational times of the system and the participant’s ability to send STEP2 files in the required format
- have its registered office in a Member State of the EU, the EEA or the OECD, or a country or territory which is part of SEPA
- participate in the system via its registered office or a branch located in the geographical area of SEPA
- provide a capacity opinion, with respect to its participation in each relevant STEP2 Service
In addition to the above, admission to participate in any of the STEP2 SEPA Services (SCT, SDD Core and SDD B2B), is contingent on the applicant’s adherence to the corresponding SEPA Scheme Rulebook of the European Payment Council.
Participants may include entities which have a BIC (ISO9362) and for which the 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 participants. The relationship between a participant and a Reachable BIC for which the 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 2023
The joining and CGS testing windows for the STEP2 Services in 2023 are the following:
|Event||Window 1||Window 2||Window 3|
|Registration deadline||23 January 2023||24 April 2023||25 September 2023|
|Start of connectivity testing||21 February 2023||23 May 2023||24 October 2023|
|Start of scripted testing||7 March 2023||6 June 2023||7 November 2023|
|Live date||4 April 2023||4 July 2023||5 December 2023|
Change dates for all STEP2 Services are set by the below conditions:
- There is a maximum of one change date per month: the first Tuesday of the month following an entire weekend (Saturday & Sunday).
- The administrative deadline for submitting legal and administrative documents is one month prior to the given change date.
- There are no change dates during the freeze period between the second week of December and the second week of January.
Monthly change dates are agreed for changes to STEP2 participation:
- 10 January 2023
- 7 February 2023
- 7 March 2023
- 4 April 2023
- 9 May 2023
- 6 June 2023
- 4 July 2023
- 8 August 2023
- 5 September 2023
- 10 October 2023
- 7 November 2023
- 5 December 2023
For the STEP2 2023 Test & Training Change Dates, please click here.
To download the STEP2 2023 Live Change Dates, 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-T System Documentation.
A participant can be prevented by the System Operator from continuing to participate in the system if certain events occur.
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:
- termination of TARGET2 access
- loss of banking license
- insolvency or comparable situations (unless an exclusion or suspension would contravene legislation implementing the EU Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) or equivalent third country legislation)
A STEP2 Participant may also be excluded in case a suspension event has not been remedied within 30 calendar days.
The criteria for participation in STEP2-T 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 participant may be suspended if non-compliance with the ongoing criteria for participation cannot be mitigated, e.g. in the case of relocation outside SEPA.
Consequences of suspension/exclusion
Subject to the specific provisions of the STEP2-T System Documentation, in the event of suspension or exclusion, no payment orders will be processed in relation to an excluded or suspended participant (in the case of suspension, as long as the suspension continues). Payment orders to or from an excluded or suspended participant that cannot be processed will be cancelled at the end of the relevant settlement day.
Withdrawal from the system
A STEP2 Participant can withdraw from the system by giving notice at least five business days in advance – of terminating the System Agreement.
For information on the STEP2-T pricing, please click here.