The European Central Bank (ECB) is looking to build momentum for its new TIPS instant payments service by calling on firms to showcase their ideas building on the initiative at an event this May.

Launched last year, TIPS (Target Instant Payments Settlement), is available to both consumers and businesses across the 19 states in the eurozone, offering near real-time payments via smartphones, PCs and in-store payment points.

The initiative was designed to help banks take on the growing popularity of digital, contactless payment services offered by big tech firms such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Alibaba in China.

But, the ECB acknowledges that for TIPS to take off, consumers need user-friendly ways to make instant payments.

The ECB is inviting service providers to develop their own prototypes and show them off, for free, at the event at the bank's headquarters in Frankfurt 6 on May and 7 May. Firms have until 30 March to express their interest, with participation confirmed in mid April.  

Last month the EU Commission’s vice president in charge of financial services, Valdis Dombrovskis, raised the possibility of more concrete actions to push TIPS adoption, suggesting that a "regulatory push" might be needed.