Payments Report 2024

Modernisation of the payment infrastructure necessary

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The Riksbank is modernising RIX

Published: 14 March 2024

Apart from card payments, almost all digital payments between banks go through accounts they hold in RIX. The RIX system consists of two services: RIX-RTGS for wholesale payments and aggregated payments and RIX-INST for individual instant payments.

RIX-INST creates more opportunities for instant payments in Sweden

Previously, instant payments made in the Swish mobile app were handled in Bankgirot’s system, but since February this year, the payments go instead through RIX-INST. There are several advantages to Swish payments having moved into RIX-INST, including that transfers between two different banks now take place between the banks’ accounts with the Riksbank. This reduces risks because the Riksbank cannot go bankrupt, among other reasons. You can read about other benefits of RIX-INST in Payments Report 2022.

As of November this year, banks connected to RIX-INST will have to be able to accept instant payments from other participants in the system according to a rulebook developed by the Nordic Payments Council. This also allows a bank connected to RIX-INST to develop new payment services where its customers can send instant payments to accounts in other banks connected to the system. However, there is no obligation for the banks in RIX-INST to offer their customers such services.

RIX-INST can help speed up payments in Europe

RIX-INST uses the technical platform TIPS, which is the European instant payment system. Together with the European Central Bank, Banca d’Italia and Danmarks Nationalbank, the Riksbank is investigating whether it is possible to make instant payments between different currencies connected to TIPS, which today are Swedish kronor, euro and, from 2025, also Danish kronor. In 2023, preparations began for a pilot project with banks from the euro area and the Nordics.

Such a service would provide a basic infrastructure for instant payments between European currencies. However, it would be up to banks and other payment service providers to develop the actual payment services that private individuals and companies can use and ensure that they work with the corresponding payment services in the other countries.

The Riksbank is examining platform-sharing for wholesale payments and securities

The Riksbank is investigating whether the Eurosystem’s T2 platform could be used for wholesale payments between, for example, banks in Swedish kronor and also whether T2S could be the platform where the Riksbank provides central bank money for securities settlement in Swedish kronor in the future.

The benefits of platform-sharing include sharing the costs of development, operation and security and facilitating payments and securities trading between countries. However, these advantages must be weighed against the fact that the Riksbank would also have to share influence and control over the platforms with the other affiliated central banks. Sharing a platform with other central banks must not limit the Riksbank’s ability, for example, to conduct an independent monetary policy. During the summer of 2024, the Executive Board of the Riksbank will decide whether the Riksbank will enter into negotiations with the Eurosystem to join the T2, T2S or both platforms.

Investigate whether more actors can have access to RIX

For payments to be efficient, it is important that there is effective competition between operators offering payment services. Under current legislation, only credit institutions, i.e. banks and credit market companies, can have direct access to payment systems such as RIX and Bankgirot’s clearing and settlement service. Upcoming EU legislation opens up the possibility for payment institutions and e-money institutions to have direct access to payment infrastructures such as infrastructure. This can improve competition and also help to shorten transaction chains, as fewer operators will need to use intermediaries to process payments.

The Riksbank is in favour of the new legislation and is investigating the conditions for opening up RIX to more types of participants. However, widening the scope of participation must be balanced against potential stability and security risks.

RIX-RTGS to migrate to a new standard for payment messages

The Riksbank is working on adapting RIX-RTGS payment messages to ISO 20022, which is an international “language” for payment messages. The transition to the new standard will be finalised in 2025. RIX-INST is already adapted to this message standard. You can read more about the transition to ISO 20022 in the Payments Report 2022.