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Sweden’s Riksbank plans to join ECB instant payment scheme

The European Central Bank’s (ECB) Target Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) system could be boosted after Sweden’s central bank confirmed that it wants the country to be the first outside of the eurozone to sign up for the instant payment system.

The ECB launched TIPS last November as a system aimed at enabling banks to settle payments instantly across Europe, helping them to compete with the big tech offerings of PayPal, Google, Amazon, Apple and Alibaba.

TIPS is available to both consumers and businesses across the 19 states in the eurozone, offering near real-time payments via smartphones, PCs and in-store payment points.

The Riksbank’s deputy head, Cecilia Skingsley, said at the time of the launch that Sweden was interested in signing up for the scheme. Although the Scandinavian country launched its own instant payments technology, Swish, back in 2012 the TIPS platform has the capability to handle other currencies apart from the euro, making Swedish crown transactions possible.

Aim for 2021

The Riksbank says that as Sweden rapidly moves towards becoming a cashless society, it wants to make instant payments possible in its RIX central system for high value payments.

An announcement on its website stated that the central bank has assessed TIPS and judges it to be “the fastest and most cost-efficient means” of giving financial institutions access to its RIX central system for large value payments 24/7 every day of the year.

However, the bank adds that “an important factor in the coming negotiations will be that the platform meets national security requirements.” Assuming the test is met “the aim is for the new service to come into use in 2021.”

Amid concerns that TIPS has been slow in gaining traction, the ECB and Swift announced last month that a group of banks are to trial global payments initiative (gpi) cross-border payments in Europe using the TIPS platform. Participants in the European pilot include Banque Internationale à Luxembourg, BBVA, Deutsche Bank, Natixis, Santander, Sberbank and UniCredit.

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