The European Banking Association has launched its pan-European ACH service, Step2, to help banks comply with forthcoming EU regulations on cross-border retail payments.
Over the coming months, 53 pilot banks will connect to the system, which was developed by Italian banking technology consortium SIA. Step2 uses the interbank Swift network as a message carrier and is able to transact in its initial configuration up to 5 million payments per day.
Gilbert Lichter, CEO of EBA Clearing, comments: "Europe urgently needed a pan-European infrastructure to handle retail payments in a speedy and low-cost manner. We are delighted that we can demonstrate our readiness well in advance of the implementation of the EC's Regulation on cross-border transfers."
EC Regulation 2560/2001 on cross border payments requires banks in the euro zone to offer cross-border euro retail payments at the same price as corresponding domestic retail payments, with effect from 1 July 2003.