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SWIFT reports strong annual growth

SWIFT reports strong annual growth

Company Information,
3 February 2022 | 3 min read

2021 saw the strongest growth in payments and securities traffic in three years and record daily volume as SWIFT drives innovation in international transactions.

Traffic volumes across our network grew by 11.2% in 2021 as the financial community embraced the roll-out of our strategy to enable instant cross-border payments from account to account, anywhere in the world.

An average of 42 million payments and securities transactions were processed using our FIN message service per day last year, underscoring SWIFT as the platform of choice for financial institutions worldwide and demonstrating our relevance to the future growth of the digital economy. Major infrastructure upgrades in recent years have dramatically improved speed, transparency and data capabilities, enabling SWIFT to outperform alternatives.

"The significant 11.2% growth in traffic over the SWIFT network last year shows the trust the financial community places in SWIFT and is a strong endorsement of our strategy to further revolutionise cross-border payments,” says David Watson, Chief Strategy Officer, SWIFT.

SWIFT is accelerating flows to achieve instant processing between 4 billion accounts and 11,000 institutions in more than 200 countries – while maintaining unrivalled security, reliability and resiliency.

David Watson
The significant 11.2% growth in traffic over the SWIFT network last year shows the trust the financial community places in SWIFT.
David Watson Chief Strategy Officer

Key initiatives delivered

Throughout 2021, we delivered several key initiatives as part of our plan to help banks transform the cross-border payments experience for their end clients. This includes:

  • Upgrading the speed and transparency of low-value payments, with the launch of SWIFT Go
  • Introducing upfront checks with Payment Pre-validation, to catch typos, misspellings and other entry errors that are a key cause of delays
  • Delivering tools for banks to improve the data available to them, helping them to innovate and boost their digital apps and services to their end customers

“In 2021 we made excellent progress on our plans to facilitate instant transactions from one account to another anywhere in the world,” says Watson. “And this year we will go even further to open a new era of possibilities in cross-border payments.”

Close community collaboration

SWIFT’s strategy has been developed in close collaboration with the global financial community, which has been highly supportive of our new services. Around 150 banks have signed up for SWIFT Go since it launched in July 2021, and rapid expansion is expected in 2022.  Additionally, over 70 customers have already subscribed to Payment Pre-validation – representing 35% of beneficiary account instructions on our network.

Together with our community we are actively exploring the frontiers of new technology and innovation, and collaborating extensively to experiment in areas such as CBDCs, tokenised assets and market infrastructure interlinking.

Enhancing cross-border transactions

All of this progress builds on the strong foundation of our earlier global payments innovation, which started in 2017 to greatly enhance the speed, transparency and predictability of cross-border payments.

Five years on, the majority of payments on SWIFT use these upgraded rails with median processing times across the breadth of the network under two hours and less than five minutes across high volume international routes.

In that same time period, traffic volumes have also swelled. On 30 November 2021, SWIFT recorded 50.2 million messages – the most ever in a single day. By comparison, that is more than 66% higher than the daily peak just five years ago.

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