SWIFT global payments innovation initiative pilot goes live early 2017

News | 14 September 2016

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Begun a year ago as a concept at Sibos Singapore 2015, SWIFT’s global payments innovation initiative (GPII) designed to improve the cross-border payments experience is, say bankers, “a step change in correspondent banking”.

The two-phase programme was formally launched in December 2015, with the first phase comprising a pilot focussing on business-to-business payments. Early results of this are being presented at Sibos Geneva 2016 with the go-live planned for early 2017.

Banks partaking in the initiative (more than 70 have signed up so far) follow a set of strict business rules designed by SWIFT in collaboration with them. The idea is that same day use of funds, transparency of fees, end-to-end tracking and transfer of rich payment information make for an improved client experience whether that client is another financial institution or a corporate.

A series of workshops was held in Frankfurt, Singapore London and New York during April and May 2016 to carve out a supporting client-centric roadmap. The objective was to deliver an additional set of data-enhanced payments services, create more value for customers as well as reduce operating costs for banks (a key benefit in the current climate of price compression and low interest rates).

In addition to this first phase, more than 40 banks participated in a series of workshops held in Frankfurt, Singapore, London and New York in April and May, and defined a new vision for correspondent banking dubbed “the digital transformation of cross-border payments”. A supporting client-centric and pragmatic roadmap was established to deliver an additional set of data-enhanced payments services, creating more value for customers as well as further reducing operating costs for banks.

“It is great to see so many banks from all corners of the globe participating in SWIFT’s global payments innovation initiative,” says Wim Raymaekers, global head of banking market and project lead for this initiative at SWIFT. “Together, they do nearly 75% of all cross-border payments on the SWIFT network. We welcome additional banks to join this open initiative“

Phase 2 is a cloud-based service where information about payments moving between correspondents will immediately go to the cloud and therefore be more immediately accessible in the deep detail necessary to transform payments operations for not only the bank and its correspondent network but the corporate end user of banking services. This is where the real transformation of the payments scene will take place, say bankers.

The different real time payments initiatives around the world are helpfully summarised in an ACI Guide to Immediate Real-time payments (2015) and there is not at this stage a move to link them all together as this is not regarded as entirely necessary.

A factsheet summarising the progress and benefits of GPPI can be downloaded from the SWIFT website here.

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