Four of the five main Irish retail banks have notified the competitor regulator of plans for an app based payment system that would enable consumers to move money between each other with ease.

If developed, the system would allow bank customers to transfer funds in much the same way as users of fintech services like Revolut and N26 can.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), which scrutinises proposed deals to ensure they are not anti-competitive, said today that it had been notified of plans for the proposed joint venture.

If it it goes ahead, it will involve AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB and KBC Bank Ireland initially, but it will be open to others involved in financial services here to join.

It is being co-ordinated by the industry body, the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

A spokesperson for the BPFI confirmed that a new company, called Synch Payments DAC, has been formed, the aim of which is to deliver a multi-banking payment app that will enable Irish users to send and make payments in real time.

"This is now a matter for the CCPC and we await their determination on the application that was made last week," they said.

If the plans get clearance, the service could start rolling out as early as this summer, it is understood.

The initial phase is focused on consumer to consumer payments, but once up and running the banks may look at expanding it to include businesses too.

The CCPC said in a notification that it has opened a preliminary phase one investigation into the proposal and has invited submissions from third parties by January 22.

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The project, dubbed Pegasus, has been in development for the past two years.

It is understood that the Central Bank is aware of the proposals.

However, because the founding banks are already regulated entities, no new licences would be required for the service.

Irish banks are increasingly coming under competitive pressure from digital based services.

Revolut is used by more than a million Irish people and the move to a cashless economy driven by the Covid-19 pandemic has also increased the use of other contactless services like Apple and Google Pay.