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Instant cross-border payments usher in a new phase of global financial interoperability

Instant cross-border payments usher in a new phase of global financial interoperability

30 November 2023 | 5 min read

The European Payment Council’s (EPC) One-Leg-Out Instant Credit Transfer scheme (OCT Inst) has gone live, meaning payments to and from Europe are able to be processed around the clock, seven days a week.

A big step towards achieving the G20’s goals for cross-border payments

Integrating market infrastructures, the way the scheme has done, is crucial to meeting the G20's objectives for cross-border payments, focusing on speed, transparency, cost, and accessibility.

This initiative links instant payment schemes across borders, offering round-the-clock processing and ushering in a new phase of global financial connectivity. Cross-border payments destined for Europe can now reach beneficiaries in seconds through seamless connection to domestic instant payment systems, with full transparency, and end-to-end tracking powered by the Swift network.

Creating a seamless customer payments experience

The One-Leg-Out Instant Credit Transfer scheme is a golden opportunity for financial institutions to leverage the benefits of domestic instant payment systems using existing infrastructure.

Marianne Demarchi, Chief Executive of Swift in Europe, emphasised the importance of this development saying, “Interoperability is at the heart of everything we are doing at Swift to achieve our strategy of instant and frictionless payments for all, and it will be key to achieving the G20’s goals for cross-border payments. The EPC’s OCT Inst scheme is a positive step that will enhance the user experience for payers in Europe, but also all around the world.”

Marianne Demarchi
The EPC’s OCT Inst scheme is a positive step that will enhance the user experience for payers in Europe, but also all around the world.
Marianne Demarchi Chief Executive, Europe, Swift

Focussing on the future of cross-border payments: What the community is saying

Carmen Rey Poza, Swift Global Product Owner at Santander, said: “This initiative leverages existing rails and connections, so there’s no need for big developments and investments, and offers not only the much desired ‘instantaneity’ but also the capacity to track your payments. It will improve significantly the customer experience for both senders and receivers.”

Rogerio P. Galvão, International and FX Services Operations at Banco ITAU Unibanco SA, said: “We are glad to take part in this project and contribute to the community. We would like to highlight that the project enables the opportunity to make transfers beyond the cut-off time of EUR currency time zone, which is very useful especially for the Americas market, and increases the speed of credits to a beneficiary’s accounts. Furthermore, all tests were done without changing of standard message format. We look forward to having this great project in production.”

Luke Perkins, Head of Global Cross Border Payments & Core Transaction Product at ANZ, said: “ANZ is committed to working to enhance cross border payments for our customers.  The European market is an important region for our customers, and we’re encouraged by the commitment from this pilot group to test and learn to help ensure cross border payments are fast, frictionless and trackable across the globe. Interoperability with domestic instant payment networks is a critical pillar in this journey and this testing continues to highlight the enhancements possible for cross border payments by integrating with these networks.  Europe has traditionally been a complex marketplace for banks outside the Eurozone, and at ANZ we look forward to seeing this capability introduced to the wider market for the benefit of customers world-wide.”

Raouf Soussi, Head of Payments Strategy at BBVA, said: "With this initiative, combining Swift GPI & real-time payments, we are finally giving our customers an unbeatable experience in the world of cross-border payments."

Jonathan Adams, Executive, Transaction Banking Product at National Australia Bank, said: “We’re thrilled to be playing an active role in the evolution of the global payments landscape. Our personal and business banking customers have high expectations for easy, cost effective and real-time transactions and every uplift in the international payments ecosystem brings us closer to delivering more simple and safe global banking solutions.” 

Damien Godderis, Head of Payments Industry Engagement at BNP Paribas, said: “BNP Paribas strongly believes in the OLO concept and hopes that other markets, on top of the UK, Australia and Europe, will follow the same approach. This is instrumental to reaching the G20 objectives and to allow interoperability between cross-border payments, as well as between market infrastructures. The Spanish initiative with Iberpay is a good example of how this model provides access to the Spanish community. We strongly hope a similar approach will be seen in other European Communities.”

Giorgio Andreoli, Director General of the European Payments Council, said: “The new One-Leg Out Instant Credit Transfer scheme is the first non-SEPA scheme delivered by the EPC, targeting international (instant) cross border A2A transactions. The OCT Inst scheme leverages the large and growing base of European PSPs already supporting Instant Payments, 62% in the SEPA area, adding on top of the speed, low cost and reachability already provided by the SCT Inst scheme, the transparency and traceability required by the G20 and the FSB. The EPC is proud to be releasing at the right point in time an innovative scheme with a strong market fit, as we believe that a multilateral scheme approach will be a game changer for international instant payments.”  

Juan Luis Encinas, CEO of Iberpay, said: “This world first pilot service, involving Iberpay’s payment system, the Swift GPI Tracker and many international banks, aims to improve and optimise international cross-currency payments in terms of speed, transparency, cost-effectiveness, availability and accessibility, and sets the stage for enhanced user experiences, novel use cases and innovative services. Iberpay’s participation in this pilot service underscores our commitment to pioneering advancements in cross-border payments, aligned with the strategy and goals of international organisations such as the G20, Financial Stability Board, Bank for International Settlements, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund, among others.”