SWIFT traffic hits record highs in 2018 as gpi uptake soars

An 11% year-on-year increase continues trend of strong growth

Figures from 2018 show an average of 31.31 million messages a day were exchanged on the SWIFT network, representing another record year for message traffic.

The 7.8 billion annual messages sent marks an 11.3% increase on 2017 – and continues a pattern of continued growth, now totalling a 56% increase over the last five years.

Traffic growth was driven by the mass adoption of SWIFT gpi – which now accounts for over half (55%) of cross-border payment instructions carried over SWIFT, only two years since its launch. 

Global payments growth

Double digit growth in SWIFT message volumes as gpi uptake soars

Growth in SWIFT’s payments traffic was strong in all regions as well as in domestic and cross-border segments. This was reflected in two record peak traffic days, with 35.22 million FIN messages exchanged on 31 May 2018 – surpassing the 2017 peak of 32.84 million messages.

Gottfried Leibbrandt, CEO at SWIFT, said: “Our traffic increase is remarkable, and I’m delighted we’ve hit an all-time high of 35 million messages in a single day. This is not only indicative of the wider growth in the global economy, but also the financial services industry’s continued trust in SWIFT. The success of SWIFT gpi and its rapid adoption has played a key part in our increased annual message traffic, with well over a million payments a day now passing over gpi.”

gpi goes from strength to strength

SWIFT gpi, which is supported by hundreds of banks, including more than 50 of the world’s top banks, was a pivotal growth driver of traffic in 2018. gpi now supports $300 billion worth of payments sent every day, reinforcing its transformational role in changing the cross-border payments experience for banks and corporates.

Thanks to gpi, cross-border payments are now typically made within minutes or even seconds, with over 50 per cent of SWIFT gpi payments credited to end beneficiaries within 30 minutes.

Operational excellence

Against this backdrop of strong traffic growth, rapid adoption of SWIFT gpi, and the roll-out of real-time payments in Australia and the Eurosystem, SWIFT continued to demonstrate operational excellence, with 99.998 per cent availability for its FIN and 99.999 per cent availability for its SWIFTNet messaging services.

InterAct, meanwhile, saw a 12% growth in traffic in 2018 mainly driven by T2S, while FileAct traffic grew 8%, mainly aided by increased activity from corporate customers.

Yawar Shah, Chairman at SWIFT, said: “In 2018, SWIFT continued its core mission and commitment to its customers by ensuring high security and continued reliability. This was achieved against a backdrop of rolling out new capabilities such as the Payment Controls Service and instant payment solutions in Australia and Europe. I’m confident that in 2019 SWIFT will continue to accelerate this momentum across its payments, securities and financial crime compliance areas.

Read the full announcement

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