Making a project reality
The development of an instant payment service was one of three projects which the Eurosystem initiated under its “Vision 2020” banner to enhance market infrastructures.
To explore the feasibility of the “TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS)” project, the first step was to create the TIPS Task Force. Chaired by the ECB, this working group was made up of representatives from banks, clearing houses and the Eurosystem central banks and sought to ascertain user requirements for a future instant payment service. Draft user requirements were published in early January 2017, and market participants had until 24 February 2017 to comment on them. In a second public consultation, the Eurosystem also surveyed market demand for an instant payment service operated by the Eurosystem.
Based on the outcomes of these two market consultations, the ECB Governing Council decided on 21 June 2017 to implement TIPS as the first of the three project initiatives under the “Vision 2020” banner. A go-live date of November 2018 was scheduled.
This left little time to put the project into practice, and it was again only through close cooperation with the market that it was possible to hit this deadline. Specifically, the stakeholders formed the TIPS Contact Group. By convening at regular intervals and commenting on numerous draft versions of documents in writing, this group played a key role in drawing up the documentation specifying TIPS in an iterative process. Just like the TIPS Task Force, the TIPS Contact Group was made up of representatives from credit institutions, clearing houses and Eurosystem central banks. All the documents from the contact group's meetings can be found on the European Central Bank’s website.
The pilot test phase for banks which have already been participating in TIPS from the start ran from 3 September until 15 November 2018. The German pilot banks were closely monitored and supported during testing by the Bundesbank’s TARGET Services National Service Desk.
TIPS went live successfully on 30 November 2018. A new test environment has been available for new participants since 10 December 2018.