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EBA Clearing’s pan-European instant payment RT1 system is live

21 November 2017

EBA Clearing’s instant payment RT1 platform is live today on 21 November in-line with the launch of the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme that is designed by the European Payment Council (EPC) to offer euro transfer capabilities across 34 single euro payment area (SEPA) countries in less than 10 seconds.

The pan-European RT1 system is in use by an initial group of 17 banks, including UniCredit in Italy and Caixa in Spain, from the eight initial migrating SEPA countries. German banks, with their large euro flows, are not expected to connect until next year in reality, with HVB the one exception in 2017.

Nevertheless, EBA Clearing says it is extending SCT Inst-compliant reach to more than 500 addressable bank and other payment service providers (PSPs) across Europe with today’s launch of RT1.

The clearer’s platform, which uses technology supplied by SIA, is intended to provide the pan-European cross-border reachability element in the new SCT Inst scheme, although it is not mandatory and other connectivity options are available. Many national clearing and settlement mechanisms (CSMs) are investing in the technology behind their domestic automated account clearing houses (ACHs) but exploring partnerships with RT1 to get the necessary cross-border scope, as in the case of Spain’s Iberpay.

Other EPC SCT Inst scheme rulebook parameters include:

  • constant 24x7x365 availability;
  • and an initial €15,000 maximum transaction limit.

Over the next 12 months, EBA Clearing says it expects more early adopters to connect to its live RT1 platform. It perhaps optimistically claims the system could reach pan-European critical mass as early as the end of next year.

“We are delighted that RT1 already extends reach to over 500 PSPs from day 1 of the SCT Inst Scheme and we are prepared to on-board many more participants in the near future,” said Hays Littlejohn, CEO of EBA Clearing, in a statement. “The frontrunner participants in RT1 will be able to adapt their real-time processes to the budding real-time payments (RTP) landscape, while tapping into the potential of the SCT Inst Scheme for their customers from an early stage.

“We look forward to supporting the ramp-up of instant euro retail payments and any evolving customer needs with a pan-European infrastructure platform that is resilient and flexible,” added Hays.

EBA Clearing is collectively owned by 51 European financial institutions (FIs) and started to develop the RT1 pan-European infrastructure platform with 39 funders, and SIA as the technology supplier, in April 2016. RT1 is open to any account-servicing payment provider (AS-PSP) adhering to the EPC SCT Inst scheme. Different options to interact with the system will allow any type of user access to the platform.

EBA Clearing already manages and operates the payment services infrastructure platforms EURO1, STEP1 and STEP2, in addition to the now live RT1 instant payment platform. Both EURO1 and STEP2 have been classified as systemically important payment systems (SIPS) by the European Central Bank (ECB). Its payment systems are pan-European by design and desire: they are developed in close co-operation with the company’s multinational user community. The organisation was founded in 1998 in readiness for the euro and operates on a country-neutral governance model with the aim of supporting European integration.

Commenting on the RT1 go live today, EBA Clearing’s chair, Erkki Poutiainen, said, “the timely launch” added another milestone to his firm’s track record of “delivering pan-European payment infrastructure on time and in budget” to payment service providers (PSPs) across Europe.

“It is a great pleasure for us to confirm the successful go live of RT1 on the start date of the SCT Inst Scheme,” concluded Poutiainen. “I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this major co-operative achievement.”



Author: Neil Ainger