Some 31 banks are now live on the new Euro Banking Association (EBA) Step2 pan-European automated clearing house system, in anticipation of the 1 July deadline for EC regulations on cross-border payments.
The EBA says 18 banks started operations in pilot mode on the new system on 28 April 2003, and a further 13 banks went live today including Commerzbank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, HypoVereinsbank and Rabobank.
From 1 July, banks in the EU must offer cross-border low-value credit transfers in euro at the same price as corresponding domestic transactions, bringing down the total amount of cross-border charges from approximately EUR16 per transaction to less than EUR0.5.
Linda Smith, head of payments industry management and strategy at HSBC says the rule change has placed significant pressures on banks in the EU to reduce bank charges. "We believe that we will be able to meet these new regulatory requirements by connecting to Step2," she says.
Step2 was developed by the Italian technology service provider SIA on behalf of the EBA, and uses Microsoft and XML technologies to streamline bulk payments processing.