The RT1 instant payment system

RT1 is a pan-European SEPA instant payment system. It is a privately financed system that started work in November 2017. The system owner and operator is EBA Clearing, a company owned by the banks that provide pan-European retail payment infrastructure.

RT1 works in real time around the clock and around the year. In the gross settlement system, all interbank payments that meet the SEPA rules are settled one by one. More information on the SEPA rules for payment services and solutions.

The system allows instant interbank payments to be made between payer and payee in less than five seconds. Each SEPA instant payment settled in RT1 is backed in full by central bank money in TARGET2. To make instant payments function smoothly the banks need to be careful that there are sufficient funds in their RT1 technical accounts in TARGET2 to cover every instant payment that is initiated. RT1 is defined by the Settlement Finality Directive as a system that guarantees that payments already made cannot be cancelled or withdrawn.

All payment service providers that meet the SEPA rules for instant payments can use RT1. The biggest banks operating in Estonia only use the RT1 system for SEPA instant payments. It is used by SEB, Swedbank and LHV, which helped in its development, and also by Coop Pank. The list of payment service providers that have joined RT1 can be found on the EBA Clearing RT1 website.

RT1 has multi-level participation, which means banks can join the system directly or indirectly through a direct participant. Direct participants need to have an account opened in TARGET2. It is technically possible for payment service providers to connect with RT1 themselves or to use a partner for sending and receiving instant payments. The payment orders of indirect participants are sent into the system by direct participants, and this means that SEPA instant payments can be sent and received by non-bank payment service providers like payment institutions and e-money institutions. More information on the EBA Clearing RT1 website