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Swift publishes paper on the future of payments

Swift publishes paper on the future of payments

20 June 2019 | 5 min read

In Payments: looking to the future, Swift challenges the community to revolutionise services and collaborate to bring this future closer

Brussels, 20 June 2019 - Swift has today released a landmark paper, “Payments: looking to the future”, in which the global co-operative articulates the future of cross-border payments. With the increase in cross-border flows, new technology enabling dramatic improvements and end-customers demanding a better customer experience, Swift is setting out its views on the future of cross-border payments in order to support the community. 

Swift’s view of the future is deceptively simple: to make cross-border payments real-time, 24/7 and as seamless, convenient, cost-efficient and accessible as domestic payments.

The paper lays out the elements and dynamics supporting the revolution in international payments, including:

  • A core infrastructure, that responds to the challenge of bridging the ‘closed loops’ of individual payments systems and securely unlocks value across borders, supporting trade and economic growth
  • The widespread adoption of Swift GPI, which will be the universal standard by 2020, making every cross-border payment fast, transparent, traceable and truly global – unlocking value from every account, to every account
  • A hyper-connected future, in which gpi-enabled banks are the bridges between real-time domestic payments infrastructures, enabling instant cross-border payments to move seamlessly and safely across borders via Swift
  • Smarter payments which utilise superior data and the power of AI and machine learning for effective and efficient financial crime compliance and to eliminate the hold-ups and bottlenecks caused by missing or incorrect information 
  • Modern, open, globally adopted standards, which allow smaller markets to internationalise faster and larger markets to fluidly transfer value through the entire payments chain   
  • Further embracing new technologies that serve a real purpose to resolve industry problems through the deployment of cutting edge technology
  • A vibrant and innovative ecosystem, with API technologies supporting open, agile architectures that allow fintechs to offer value-add services and banks to differentiate themselves by layering services and products

Payments are not an end in themselves – they exist to enable investment, trade and commerce. By laying out this industry roadmap, Swift aims to galvanise the global payments community – market infrastructures, banks and fintechs – to collaborate and help drive progress, ensuring cross-border payments better serve market needs.

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About Swift
Swift is a global member owned cooperative and the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services. We provide our community with a platform for messaging and standards for communicating, and we offer products and services to facilitate access and integration, identification, analysis and regulatory compliance.

Our messaging platform, products and services connect more than 11,000 banking and securities organisations, market infrastructures and corporate customers in more than 200 countries and territories. While Swift does not hold funds or manage accounts on behalf of customers, we enable our global community of users to communicate securely, exchanging standardised financial messages in a reliable way, thereby supporting global and local financial flows, as well as trade and commerce all around the world.

As their trusted provider, we relentlessly pursue operational excellence; we support our community in addressing cyber threats; and we continually seek ways to lower costs, reduce risks and eliminate operational inefficiencies. Our products and services support our community’s access and integration, business intelligence, reference data and financial crime compliance needs. Swift also brings the financial community together – at global, regional and local levels – to shape market practice, define standards and debate issues of mutual interest or concern. Swift’s strategic five year plan, Swift2020, challenges Swift to continue investing in the security, reliability and growth of its core messaging platform, while making additional investments in existing services and delivering new and innovative solutions.

Headquartered in Belgium, Swift’s international governance and oversight reinforces the neutral, global character of its cooperative structure. Swift’s global office network ensures an active presence in all the major financial centres.

Swift GPI
The Swift global payments innovation (Swift GPI) is the largest change in cross-border payments over the last 30 years and is the new standard. Swift GPI dramatically improves the customer experience in cross-border payments by increasing their speed, transparency and end-to-end tracking. Hundreds of thousands of cross-border payments, totalling over $300bn, are sent every day using the new gpi standard. Payments are made quickly, typically within minutes, even seconds.

Swift GPI allows corporates to receive an enhanced payments service, with the following key features:

  • Faster, same day use of funds within the time zone of the receiving gpi member
  • Transparency of fees
  • End-to-end payments tracking
  • Remittance information transferred unaltered

With Swift GPI, the correspondent banking community, together with fintechs, corporates, and others, is collectively removing frictions and reducing the costs associated with cross-border payments. Since its launch in January 2017, gpi has dramatically improved the cross-border payments experience for corporates in over 1,100 country corridors. Key features of Swift GPI include enhanced business rules and a secure tracking database in the cloud accessible via APIs. New gpi services are routinely developed with the gpi member community and rolled out to the growing network of banks.

Thanks to Swift GPI, corporates can grow their international business, improve supplier relationships, and achieve greater treasury efficiencies. On average, 40% of Swift GPI payments are credited to end beneficiaries within 5 minutes. 50% are credited within 30 minutes; 75% within 6 hours; and almost 100% within 24 hours.

Already, 3,500 banks accounting for 85% of Swift’s total payments traffic have committed to adopting gpi and more than 55 payment market infrastructures are already exchanging gpi payments, enabling domestic exchange and tracking. Payment market infrastructures have a critical role to play in facilitating the end-to-end tracking of cross-border payments because as soon as international payments hit the destination country, they are typically cleared through local payment infrastructures.