Customer Story

A European Central Bank adopts instant payment system

About the company

Major Central Bank of Europe

European Central Bank

As an integral part of the Eurosystem, this bank is a national central bank of the Euro area and the European Central Bank. The organization consists of about 6,800 employees and uses technical and financial resources to offer quality services in an efficient, responsible, and impartial way. In June 2017, this bank decided to develop a fast, reliable, and cost-efficient solution to meet Eurosystem’s directive to offer instant payments as part of the TARGET instant payment settlement system (TIPS). The bank needed to provide customers with a way to make payments within seconds from any euro-area bank while maintaining privacy and security for some 43 million transactions a day.


Private instant payments threaten to fragment Eurosystem

Digitalization was upending the banking system with instant payments from private services such as PayPal, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Alibaba quickly outpacing the banks in Europe. The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) had concerns that these private instant payment services would lead to fragmentation and division of the European retail payments market and currencies, serve only profitable regions or countries while neglecting others, and create privacy and security risks.

Existing solutions were too expensive, took too long, or did not provide the privacy required. For example, bank payments take up to one business day for a euro payment and multiple days for ACH payments. Systems like Visa cost 2-3% per transaction. Blockchain transactions take 10 minutes each and are part of public records, thus raising privacy concerns.

This central bank agreed to develop and manage an instant payment platform in cooperation with others in Europe.

Challenges included:

Real time transfer

The service needed to offer instant payments, lay the groundwork for person-to-person mobile payments, and more.

Regionally agnostic

Allow citizens and firms to make payments via banks anywhere in the eurozone within a matter of seconds (not regionally divisive).

Real time, uninterrupted performance

Handle 43 million transactions per day and be highly available at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.


The bank needed to keep the cost of transactions low.

Reliability and consistency

The system could not tolerate data loss or data inconsistency.


Keep customer information and transactions private and secure.

Instant, reliable Euro bank payments — anytime, anywhere

The bank needed a solution that would keep them competitive, flexible, and innovative without skyrocketing costs. With Aerospike, they are able to satisfy customer’s need for instant payments, allowing them to transfer money between each other within seconds regardless of when the bank is physically open. This ensures bank holders in Europe can easily transact with each other and helps avoid fragmentation in the European retail payments market.

The solution with Aerospike provides the performance and resilience required for the instant payment system, including the ability to keep track of payment history in case the bank needed to review and replay processes afterwards.

The solution includes:

Guaranteed resilience with zero downtime

Deployed across two datacenters with synchronous replications, zero downtime, no need for failback synchronization.

Strong performance and consistency

10,000 writes per second and end-to-end processing time under 10 seconds (under 1 second in light load conditions)


High transaction volumes and horizontal scaling to thousands of European banks, plus the ability to support other currencies in the future.

Top-notch support

The bank and its customers were impressed by the reliable service, support, speed, and ease of use.

High performance, scalability, and expansion for future needs

After a fast and straightforward migration from community edition to enterprise edition, the bank was very pleased with the results of the Aerospike solution.

Per transaction cost of under 0.2 euro cents

24/7 high availability

10,000 writes per second with low latency

Dynamic Data Distribution

Cross data center replication


Scalability for over 1,000 European banks

Payment history and replay

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