21 March 2016

SWIFT delivers global reference data platform for SEPA IBAN Only in the UK

Payments UK commissions SWIFTRef for national SEPA data collection and maintenance

SWIFTRef, SWIFT’s global reference data utility, has successfully designed, built and delivered the IBAN/BIC reference platform for the UK community under the guidance of Payments UK. With SWIFTRef’s proven infrastructure and expertise within the industry, this new Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) International Bank Account Number (IBAN) Only (SEPAIO) central infrastructure platform will ensure full integration and compliance with SEPA regulations, and not only within the UK but also the EU.

The new SEPAIO platform enables the accurate derivation of BICs from IBANs, a key requirement for financial institutions in SEPA countries seeking to initiate euro payments to the UK once the European SEPA regulation (EC 260/2012) comes into force in October 2016 for non-eurozone countries, such as the UK. To ensure a seamless transition for its UK members, Payments UK decided to provide an automated and centralised IBAN/BIC data collection and maintenance platform, which is based on SWIFTRef. Through this public platform, the Payments UK service will provide Payment Service Providers (PSPs) real-time access to accurate IBAN-BIC data from the UK and Gibraltar (and UK crown dependencies once they have joined SEPA) allowing financial institutions in those territories to publish and maintain their own IBAN/BIC data. This initiative will ensure that PSPs in SEPA countries are equipped to accurately route euro-payments to their peers in the UK. With its flexible architecture, software and data management, the SEPAIO platform has been designed to accommodate for the growth of new services and functions in line with the fast change of pace in the UK.

“Payments UK has worked across the industry, with a wide range of stakeholders, both nationally and in Europe, to build a clever tool to support the introduction of this new regulatory change that came into effect across the eurozone on 1 February 2016 and which will come into force in the UK on 1 October this year. Our directory, which includes data for over 95% of UK SEPA reachable BICs, goes truly above and beyond, boasting a technologically superior offering. By incorporating open API criteria into the software, we are demonstrating the emphasis we place on making payments efficient - streamlining and simplifying processes for the end user - and harnessing the latest technology to help us in that regard”, said Maurice Cleaves, Chief Executive of Payments UK

The SWIFTRef platform is used to collect, manage and deliver worldwide payments reference data for use by over 5,500 financial institutions and 500 corporates globally. SWIFTRef data is used to validate and check not only SEPA payments but is also used in international and domestic payment operations, as well as supporting regulatory reporting needs.

As a result of increasing data complexities and stringent regulatory data requirements as well as the global shift towards real-time processing, national authorities continue to face a growing challenge to collect and maintain an accurate central source for national identifiers such as national sort/clearing codes and domestic SEPA/IBAN data. In response, as with the Payments UK, SWIFT offers national and regional communities the functionality and features of its global SWIFTRef platform for re-use at a local level.

“As regulatory requirements and the shift towards real-time processing become paramount, we are delighted that Payments UK have leveraged the SWIFTRef global utility platform to provide automated and high quality reference data at a local level,” Hervé Valentin, Head of SWIFTRef, SWIFT

The SEPAIO directory can be accessed using the individual lookup facility, which is free to use from www.swiftrefdata.com or downloaded and integrated in your system via an API (via login to swift.com). This will become chargeable from the 1 June 2016 and for further details on the pricing please contact SEPAIO_Ops@paymentsUK.org.uk.

To find out more, visit the SEPAIO welcome page.

Payments UK

To find out more about Payments UK visit www.paymentsuk.org.uk