EU banks plan to join instant payments system as they fear Facebook's Libra crypto

Banks in the eurozone region plan to join the real-time payments system by the end of 2020, as they fear Facebook's upcoming cryptocurrency Libra, Reuters reports.

The 19-country region has reportedly had the real-time payments system since 2017, but only about half of the region's banks have joined it. Post Facebook's Libra announcement, banks now feel the heat of competition, according to the report.

"The clock is ticking," Etienne Goosse, director general of the European Payments Council (EPC) was quoted as saying in the report. Goosse said that regardless of Facebook's success with the project, banks need to move more quickly as large tech firms are here to stay.

"They come with a global solution, under a global brand offering many things that the consumers seem to find wonderful. So we have no time," he said.

Facebook, along with 27 founding partners including Uber and Paypal, recently unveiled a plan for "low-volatility" cryptocurrency Libra, intending to serve the unbanked and facilitate low-fee money transfers globally. Libra is expected to go live sometime next year, but it has already faced scrutiny from central banks and politicians around the world.