EBA Clearing says it is working with 66 major banks to prepare for testing of its Step2 Sepa direct debit (SDD) services ahead of the scheme's launch in November.
The group has welcomed last week's move by the European Payments Council (EPC) to confirm 2 November as the launch late for the SDD schemes.
The clarification came after the European Commission and European Central Bank called on the banking standards body to firm up the SDD deadline and gave a clear timetable for the abolition of interchange fees over a three-year transitional timeframe.
EBA Clearing says it is already actively preparing for the launch with 66 banks from 16 European countries on the Core SDD service. Of these, 44 have also signed up for its business to business SDD service.
The Step2 SDD services have been designed and implemented on EBA Clearing's pan-European automated clearing house (PE-ACH) platform, in co-operation with a group of 59 pilot banks.
Starting in May, the group will offer six testing windows throughout the second and third quarter.
Giorgio Ferrero, chairman, EBA Clearing, says: "By setting a definitive launch date for the SDD Schemes and starting the adherence process in May, the EPC has provided the necessary certainty for the banks to finalise their preparations in view of the November live date."
He adds: "The industry now counts on the support of national legislators across the EU/EEA to transpose the PSD by 2nd November 2009, so that the legal foundation required for the use of the new direct debit instruments will be in place in time."
Further details on the EBA programme wil be forthcoming at EBAday 09
, the annual European payments conference and exhibition organised by the EBA and Finextra Research, which is taking place this year in Vienna in June.