ROME, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Bank of Italy (BoI) and the European Central Bank (ECB) launched a new pan-European smartphone payment system called TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) in Rome on Friday, the Italian central bank announced on its website.
The new system means that "using TIPS to make a payment with a smartphone is the equivalent of coins or bills changing hands", according to the BoI.
"Instant payments are used to settle retail transactions -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- and are attracting much attention and interest," BoI Governor Ignazio Visco said in his welcoming remarks at the launch, which was attended by ECB executive board member Yves Mersch.
"TIPS is a pan-European system for real-time settlement in central bank money and it has the potential to become a benchmark, not only within Europe," he said.
In most cases instant payment systems are settled in commercial bank money, however TIPS transactions are settled in central bank money, the Italian central banker explained.
The BoI has developed and will operate the TIPS platform on behalf of the Eurosystem, which is made up of ECB and the central banks of the 19 eurozone members.
TIPS is designed to secure an end-to-end processing time of 10 seconds or less and can process over 2,000 transactions per second, around the clock, every day of the year, according to the BoI.
The TIPS system, which took 12 months to develop, is now live and available to all banks that wish to offer this service to their clients.
A commission of 0.2 eurocents will be charged for each transaction, or one euro per 500 transactions.
"TIPS also makes an important contribution to keeping the current payment system infrastructures run by the Eurosystem attractive in the face of future challenges on a global scale," Visco said.
At its inception, TIPS will only settle payment transfers in euros. However, if there is demand, other currencies can be supported as well because it has been designed as a multi-currency system, the Italian central banker explained.