Households and companies are expected to demand instant payments to an ever greater degree and, eventually, new arrangements dimensioned for larger payment flows will probably be needed. In 2018, Swish was responsible for six per cent of the total amount of electronic payments in Sweden. The Riksbank considers that more payments could be made instantly if customers wished. Unlike all other payments, Swish payments are settled via a private technical platform and not through the Riksbank’s payment system RIX. As the importance of instant payments increases, so too do the consequences for society of potential shocks to the flow of payments. It is therefore important that instant payments are also settled at the Riksbank.
The Riksbank has therefore investigated how it could ensure that instant payments could be made around the clock directly via the Riksbank. One possibility is for the Riksbank itself to develop or procure a platform for instant payments. This could be very expensive. Another aspect is that payments have considerable economies of scale, which is to say that efficiency gains can be large if payments are made on a large scale.
The Eurosystem already has a platform for the settlement of instant payments. The platform is called Target Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) and was launched in November 2018. TIPS has the technical capacity to execute payments in other currencies than the euro, for instance, the Swedish krona (SEK). It would thus be possible to use TIPS to execute instant payments in SEK in a very efficient and secure manner.
In the autumn of 2018 and spring of 2019, the Riksbank carried out a pre-study of the advantages and disadvantages of enabling payments in SEK via TIPS. The result of this was that the Riksbank decided to continue to work with the ECB to develop an agreement allowing this. An agreement would involve the Riksbank using the TIPS platform to settle instant payments and RIX would therefore be expanded to also cover parts of the TIPS platform. An important part of the coming negotiations is ensuring that the platform meets national security requirements. The aim is for the new service to come into use in 2021.