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ECB Guideline on TARGET2



Guideline of the European Central Bank 2013/47/EU on a trans-European automated real-time gross settlement express transfer system (TARGET2) (ECB/2012/27)


It regulates the trans-European automated real-time gross settement express transfer (TARGET2) real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system. TARGET2 is a payment system that enables EU banks to transfer money between each other in real time. Central and commercial banks can submit payment orders in euro to TARGET2 where they are processed and settled in money held in an account with a central bank.

TARGET2 aims to:

  • support the implementation of the Eurosystem’s monetary policy and the functioning of the euro money market;
  • minimise systemic risk in the payment market, i.e. the possibility of a single actor causing an entire market to collapse;
  • ensure the efficient processing of cross-border payments in euro.


TARGET2 is owned and managed by the Eurosystem. Each central bank in the Eurosystem operates its own TARGET2 component.

Central banks in non-euro-area countries may participate and settle euro transactions via the platform and comply with the guideline to that effect.

Other financial institutions can participate in TARGET2 via a participating central bank through:

  • direct participation (being in the European Economic Area (EEA) and sending and receiving payments on their own or their customers’ behalf);
  • indirect participation (in the EEA and channelling payments via a direct participant in TARGET2);
  • multi-addressee access (branches and subsidiaries of a direct participant in the EEA authorised to process payments through its account);
  • addressable BIC, a correspondent of a direct participant that holds a Bank Identifier Code (BIC), irrespective of its place of establishment.

Management of TARGET2 is based on three levels of governance.

  • Level 1: the ECB’s Governing Council is responsible for overall direction, management and control of TARGET2, including common cost and pricing methodology, security and policies.
  • Level 2: the Eurosystem central banks are responsible for certain technical and operational management tasks related to TARGET2.
  • Level 3: Deutsche Bundesbank, Banque de France and Banca d’Italia are acting as a service provider for the single shared platform infrastructure on behalf of the Eurosystem.

The four main tasks and responsibilities within the TARGET2 system are:

  • framework setting by the Eurosystem by producing guidelines with common requirements for the users;
  • compliance check by the central banks;
  • providing central banks with the relevant information by the users;
  • monitoring and follow-up activities by central banks.

The guideline contains specific rules for the operation of TARGET2, i.e.:

  • the opening and operation of an account;
  • fees for core TARGET2 services;
  • pooling liquidity;
  • intraday credit (a short period when an account may be overdrawn);
  • suspension or termination of participation;
  • rejection of an application for participation in TARGET2;
  • compensation and treatment of losses from technical malfunction;
  • dispute resolution.


It entered into force on 7 December 2012 and has applied since 1 January 2013. Guideline ECB/2012/27 repealed Guideline ECB/2007/2.


  • TARGET2 is the Eurosystem’s interbank funds transfer system, which is designed to support the Eurosystem’s objectives of defining and implementing the monetary policy of the euro area and promoting the smooth operation of payment systems.
  • TARGET2 services are developed and operated by the Eurosystem to ensure the safe and efficient flow of cash, securities and collateral across Europe. This contributes to the stability of the euro.
  • The predecessor of TARGET2, TARGET, linked different national RTGS structures together and commenced operations on 4 January 1999, a few days after the launch of the euro.
  • TARGET2, launched on 19 November 2007, fully replaced the first-generation TARGET by May 2008 by providing harmonised core services on a single shared platform developed by the Banque de France, Deutsche Bundesbank and Banca d’Italia (known as 3CB).
  • TARGET2 is one of the largest payment systems in the world, reaching over 52,000 banks and processing payments close to the entire euro-area GDP every 5 days.
  • The Eurosystem has launched a project to consolidate TARGET2 and TARGET2-Securities in terms of both technical and functional aspects. The objective is to meet changing market demands by replacing TARGET2 with a new RTGS system called T2 and optimising liquidity management across all TARGET services. The new consolidated platform will be launched in November 2022.
  • For more information, see:


Guideline of the European Central Bank 2013/47/EU of 5 December 2012 on a Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross settlement Express Transfer system (TARGET2) (recast) (ECB/2012/27) (OJ L 30, 30.1.2013, pp. 1-93)

Successive amendments have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Decision 2007/601/EC of the European Central Bank of 24 July 2007 concerning the terms and conditions of TARGET2-ECB (ECB/2007/7) (OJ L 237, 8.9.2007, pp. 71-107)

See consolidated version.

last update 03.03.2021