German banks begin migration to EBA Clearing's STEP2 Card Clearing Service

Source: EBA Clearing

The ramp-up of EBA CLEARING’s STEP2 Card Clearing Service is ongoing following the successful launch of the service on 14th April 2015. As the panEuropean payment infrastructure provider confirmed today at the EBAday conference in Amsterdam, the German user community pioneering the service is on schedule for the planned completion of its migration by November 2015.

The move to XML-based card clearing enables the user banks to reap synergies from the re-use of the interbank infrastructure and bank-internal interfaces they have invested in for the Single Euro Payments Area. It also supports banks in reducing the number of clearing channels by switching off legacy processing systems.

The STEP2 Card Clearing (CC) Service is a pan-European service and currently clears payments originating from card transactions based on the SEPA Card Clearing Framework developed by the Berlin Group. In a first phase, the service is used for debit card transactions under the German GIROCARD scheme. Its pan-European design makes STEP2 CC well-suited for the onboarding of card-initiated payments from other communities in Europe.

“After the SEPA changeover, our ongoing migration to the STEP2 Card Clearing Service marks a logical next step in our move from domestic legacy systems to a pan-European XML infrastructure,” said Markus Jörg, Head of Cash Management, Helaba. “This move allows us to further integrate and streamline our internal payment processes. At the same time, we are able to leverage our investments in the robust and cost-effective STEP2 platform for additional payment streams. Both aspects support us in offering our customers reliable and efficient state-of-the-art payment services at low cost, which is one of our prime objectives.”

“We are pleased to report that the ramp-up phase of STEP2 CC is well on track. The implementation of the service in less than one year both at bank and infrastructure level testified to the potential offered by STEP2 CC to re-use existing components designed for SEPA,” said Erwin Kulk, Head of New Developments and Innovation, STEP2 Services, at EBA CLEARING. “The synergies that banks can reap through joining this pan-European service are already attracting interest from other communities, to which we hope to roll out the service over the next few years.”

The SEPA Card Clearing Framework on which the STEP2 Card Clearing Service is based was developed by the Berlin Group, a group of 27 major players in the card industry from 25 countries in and beyond the Eurozone; the aim of the Berlin Group is to standardise card clearing across Europe by leveraging SEPA infrastructure.

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