Faster Payments

Sweden Joins ECB’s Real-Time Payments Platform

Sweden Joins ECB’s Real-Time Payments Platform

Sweden is the latest country to join the European Central Bank’s (ECB) instant payments platform in an effort to ease electronic payments. The agreement allows the ECB to offer Sweden access to the Eurosystem’s TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) in Swedish currency to support the nation’s instant payment service, the agency announced on Friday (April 3).

The deal between ECB, the Eurosystem and Sveriges Riksbank will take effect in 2022. It will allow providers of payment services to transfer and settle their customers’ funds in real time, 24/7, and settle the payments in central bank money.

Launched in 2018, Euro’s instant payments were created to also be able to settle other currencies, the agency said.

ECB President Christine Lagarde said cooperation of the central bank community in Europe “works effectively.”

According to the release, Sweden is one of Europe’s most advanced European countries when it comes to instant payments usage, with large daily volumes. Today, the average number of daily instant payments is 1.5 million per day.

“In crisis times, this agreement is a good example of strong cooperation between central banks in Europe,” Lagarde said in a statement. “Our real-time settlement platform is a pivotal contribution to Europe’s endeavors to satisfy citizens’ increasing demand for faster, cheaper and convenient payment services without compromising on security.”

The agreement was signed by Lagarde, as well as Sveriges Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves and the governors of the Eurosystem’s 19 national central banks.

The deal comes one day after the ECB extended the timeline for the review of its monetary policy in the wake of the coronavirus.

“The decision-making bodies and staff of the ECB and the national central banks of the Eurosystem are focusing all their efforts on addressing the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic,” the announcement said. “The conclusion of the strategy review will therefore be postponed from the end of 2020 to mid-2021.”



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.