It was announced today that a further sixteen banks have joined the cross-border retail payments system operated by the European Banking Association (EBA). In all, 179 banks now participate in the system, including some from countries outside the European Union such as the US, Japan, Australia, Norway and Switzerland. More banks are expected to join at the so-called “joining sessions” scheduled for 15 July and 7 October.
The STEP1 system operated by the EBA has also moved to same day settlement of cross-border payments in euro. Launched by the EBA in November 2000, STEP1 has reduced the cut-off time for the sending of payments from D-1 (the day before the value date) to value date D at 9:30 a.m., enabling each participating bank to send same day payments to other participating banks directly and without intermediation.
STEP1 has also started to process inter-bank payments ( SWIFT MT202s) and messages relating to cheque collection (SWIFT MT400s). The EBA is currently preparing new enhancements to include direct debits, that will be implemented in September for the banks who are prepared to exchange these particular message types (SWIFT MT204s).
STEP1 is open to any financial institution established in the European Union, and currently boasts more then 8,000 Bank Identification Code (BICs).