We take a look at some of our community’s key achievements in 2023 and look forward to what’s coming in 2024.
This has been a year of strong momentum across the Swift community, as we continued to elevate the cross-border experience and innovated to enable an inclusive and interoperable future. Here’s a snapshot of key milestones that lay solid foundations for 2024 and beyond.
Progress towards the G20 goals
With an eye toward the G20’s goals for cross-border payments, much of our focus has been set on enhancing speed, cost, transparency, choice and access in line with the target ambition. Achieving these by 2027 is key to improving the overall payments experience for people and businesses around the world.
Already, in-flight speed on our network is ahead of the game – with 89% of transactions reaching the recipient bank within an hour – and about 50% getting to the beneficiary within five minutes. That’s huge progress against the G20’s end-to-end target of 75% within an hour by 2027. And, importantly, we also have insight into the factors that take time once a transaction leaves the Swift network so that we can support work at industry level to ensure that end customers can access funds as quickly as possible.
“The goals of the G20 around speed, transparency and access are targets that everyone in our industry can get behind,” said Thierry Chilosi, Chief Strategy Officer at Swift. “We at Swift have been laser-focused on supporting the financial industry in meeting and exceeding these objectives, through extending the benefits of our secure, resilient network far and wide.
“As technology evolves further, and new regulation comes in, we’re well prepared to support our community in embracing new innovation while remaining compliant, without the need for significant investments.”
Kickstarting the future of rich data
The start of the industry-wide migration to ISO 20022 in March 2023 marked an important milestone for the global payments industry, setting the stage for new levels of operational efficiency and innovation. The rich data standard is already having an impact across payments and financial crime compliance and its benefits will transform our industry for many years to come.
“2023 will be remembered as a pivotal year in the evolution of the financial ecosystem,” said Jerome Piens, Chief Product Officer at Swift. “We’re proud to be supporting the industry as it migrates to the ISO 20022 standard and to be providing solutions that embrace its richer data, enabling our community to extend the benefits of greater speed and transparency to more and more end users.”
It’s not just those that have completed their migration who are benefiting. Thanks to the introduction of Transaction Manager, we’re supporting those that are still sending MT messages as they complete their ISO 20022 adoption journey before the end of the 2025 coexistence period.
Stopping small errors causing big problems
The majority of cross-border transactions flow seamlessly from end to end. But when friction does arise, it slows payments down and stops them arriving at their destination on time. When analysing payments exceptions on our network, we found that 72% were the result of formatting issues, account issues and invalid data. In other words, much of this friction could be avoided by checking payments for errors before they’re sent.
That’s the idea behind Payment Pre-validation, which allows users to check for typos and formatting errors upfront to ensure payments complete the first time. The service continued to gain momentum in 2023 with about 300 financial institutions now signed up.
Our expertise in this area has also been recognised by CBI, the Italian Confirmation of Payee provider, which recently announced that it will connect to Swift Payment Pre-validation to extend its reach across Europe.
And in 2024 we’ll go even further to reduce friction by exploring how AI can help detect anomalies and prevent fraudulent payments before they’re sent too.
Swift Go going strong
The low-value payments market continued to be a hot topic this year, as seen with the many conversations and debates at Sibos 2023. This is also a key segment in the G20’s roadmap for enhancing cross-border payments and a focus for us.
We’re keen to help providers make the most of this space so they can stay competitive and provide their consumer and SME customers with the best cross-border payments experience possible.
That’s the vision behind Swift Go – our solution that brings speed and transparency to low-value payments. 650 banks have now signed up to Swift Go, and with 430 having onboarded in the last 12 months, consumers and businesses around the world can reap the benefits.
Transforming securities transparency
In capital markets, the launch of Securities View at the start of 2023 is helping bring end-to-end transparency across the entire securities settlement chain. This is key to avoiding fails as settlement cycles around the world get shorter and penalties for late settlement ramp up.
At year end, 83 global financial institutions have signed up, including Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Nomura Asset Management.
Preparing for an inclusive, interoperable future
With CBDCs, tokenised assets and other new forms of value emerging, much of our work is focused on enabling interoperability to prevent the emergence of ‘digital islands.’
In 2023, we made significant progress demonstrating the key role our infrastructure can play in facilitating the exchange of digital value, through collaborative experiments with members of our community and beyond.
In separate experiments, we’ve shown both that we can interlink different central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and provide a single point of access to multiple blockchain networks – a development that could unleash the potential of tokenised assets.
We’re also driving new forms of interoperability between domestic payment infrastructures, too. In November, we announced how we are supporting the European Payment Council’s (EPC) One-Leg-Out Instant Credit Transfer scheme (OCT Inst). This enables cross-border payments destined for Europe to 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.
A year of new opportunities
At Sibos 2023 in Toronto, we unveiled new collaborations that extend the benefits of our network to an even greater number of businesses and individuals around the world, a theme that will continue to resonate as Sibos moves to Beijing in 2024.
As the underlying infrastructure for the financial industry, Swift can play an important role in making international transactions instant and frictionless, whether they start on our network or not. Providing more options for financial institutions and their customers to move money seamless across borders is another way in which we are helping to accelerate choice, access and innovative client experiences in international payments while maintaining the trust and integrity of payment flows worldwide.
Of course, none of these achievements would have been possible without you – our community – who help drive progress, shape our offering, and innovate with us for the future. As we head into 2024, we’re proud of these achievements and excited for all that’s to come.