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The Bank of Canada’s settlement account policies for Payments Canada payment systems

Read about the policies for Lynx, the Automated Clearing Settlement System and Real-Time Rail, and learn how to apply for a settlement account for these payment systems.


The Bank of Canada provides settlement accounts to direct participants in Lynx, direct clearers in the Automated Clearing Settlement System (ACSS) and direct participants in the planned Real-Time Rail (RTR). Payments Canada owns and operates these systems, but final settlement of payment obligations in these systems occurs through settlement accounts on the books of the Bank of Canada.

Policies for settlement accounts

The Bank’s provision of settlement accounts for Lynx, ACSS and RTR benefits the payments ecosystem by allowing for settlement finality in central bank money. However, an institution’s direct access to payment systems through a settlement account may also expose the Bank, Payments Canada or other participants to risk. The Bank’s settlement account access policies are designed to balance the benefits and risks.

The policies outline the requirements that applicants must meet for the Bank to consider granting them a settlement account.

Read the Bank of Canada’s settlement account access policies for Lynx and the ACSS and the RTR.


Applying for a settlement account for Lynx, ACSS or RTR involves four main steps.

Step 1: Confirm your eligibility to apply

To be eligible for a settlement account for these payment systems, the applicant must be a member of, or eligible to become a member of, Payments Canada.

Section 4 of the Canadian Payments Act identifies who can or must be a member of Payments Canada. Applicants that are not members of Payments Canada will need to contact Payments Canada to discuss membership and direct participation in their payment systems.

The Department of Finance Canada is working to expand Payments Canada’s membership eligibility criteria to include payment service providers subject to the Retail Payment Activities Act. Once eligible for Payments Canada membership, payment service providers will be eligible to apply for a Real-Time Rail settlement account in the future at the Bank of Canada.

Read more about retail payments supervision.

Step 2: Meet Payments Canada’s requirements

Applicants for a settlement account will need to meet Payments Canada’s operational, technical and security requirements for direct participation in Payments Canada’s payment systems.

Step 3: Contact the Bank

Applicants will need to contact the Bank to:

  • express their intention to apply for a settlement account for Lynx, ACSS or RTR
  • request an application form for the relevant payment system

Step 4: Complete and submit your form

Applicants must submit their completed form to the Bank as indicated in the form’s instructions.

What to expect after submitting your application

The Bank will assess completed applications and may reach out to applicants to clarify elements of the submission.

Successful applicants will then undergo an onboarding process with the Bank and Payments Canada to get set up in the relevant payment system and open the settlement account.

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