Major players in the European card payments industry have joined together in the "Berlin Group" standardisation initiative to deliver the first common standard for the ISO 20022 payment message based clearing of card based transactions resulting in the "SEPA Card Clearing Framework" (SCC Framework). The SCC Framework is a big step to making the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) a reality for the clearing and settlement of card transactions.
This standard complements the existing SEPA payment instruments Credit Transfer and Direct Debit, already developed by the European banking industry. The SEPA clearing infrastructure built up for these payment instruments do not cover yet clearing and settlement of card transactions, although card transactions stand for the highest volumes of European mass payments. The definition of a SEPA Card Clearing Framework is expected to reduce the costs of the clearing processing significantly, if a card scheme independent SEPA format and process for card clearing is used within Europe. The SCC Framework is an alternative solution to the ISO 8583 solution already published by the Berlin Group in its Version 3 standard. It will support all main business processes for card processing on the clearing side, as identified by the European Payment Council (EPC) in its cards standardisation efforts.
The Berlin Group now delivers the version 1.0 of the SEPA Card Clearing. The work consists of three parts, i.e.
The work published is specifying the full value chain from the acquirer to the acquiring bank and further to the issuing bank. It is thus defining all "Payment Initiation - pain" and "Payment Clearing and Settlement - pacs" messages and R-transactions within the ISO 20022 payment setting relevant for clearing card transactions.