By Marc Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – Sweden could become the first non-euro zone country to sign up to the European Central Bank’s new instant payment system, the deputy head of the Riksbank, Cecilia Skingsley, said on Tuesday.
Sweden has its own instant payments technology called SWISH, but the ECB’s new TIPS platform has the capability to handle other currencies apart from the euro, so Swedish crown transactions would be possible.
That is likely to appeal the banks or other financial intermediaries that use such systems, especially if using a single system reduces their overall costs.
TIPS payments take 10 seconds or less to process and cost the payment provider a fifth of a euro cent, or 0.002 euro, the ECB says.
“We just had the results (of a consultation on using TIPS) from the (Swedish banking) industry on their views on this,” Skingsley told Reuters on the sidelines of a banking conference.
“We haven’t really commented on that yet but it wasn’t this at least,” she said making a thumbs-down gesture.
Skingsley was also hesitant to put a timeframe on how long such a switch could take, but said the appetite for making this kind of instant payment was growing fast among both consumers and companies.
U.S. firms PayPal, Google, Facebook and Amazon, and China’s Alibaba and Tencent currently dominate such services in Europe.
This has worried European policymakers in recent months following a string of cyber attacks on financial infrastructure and fractious economic and diplomatic ties with U.S. President Donald Trump.
“We can’t wait, so it’s not a 10-year thing it is probably more 1-3 years,” Skingsley said.
(Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Peter Graff)