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Swift sees success with global instant cross-border payments with Singapore’s FAST

Swift sees success with global instant cross-border payments with Singapore’s FAST

18 July 2019 | 12 min read

European and North American banks trial instant payments to Asia over Swift GPI and Singapore FAST in less than 25 seconds

Brussels, 18 July 2019 - Swift today announces the results of a global trial to integrate Swift GPI Instant, the co-operative’s cross-border instant payments service, into Singapore’s domestic instant payment service, Fast And Secure Transfers (FAST). 

The successful trial which involved 17 banks across seven countries – Australia, China, Canada, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Singapore and Thailand – saw payments between all continents settle within 25 seconds; the fastest in just 13 seconds. This major advance extends the speed and transparency of Swift GPI deeper into domestic markets, reaching a wider set of ultimate beneficiary accounts around the world.

Building upon Swift’s proven track record of excellence, global reach and resilience, Swift GPI Instant reuses existing cross-border and domestic payments infrastructure, thereby minimising implementation costs and avoiding the complexities of adopting new cross-border infrastructure.

In this case, Swift GPI Instant capitalises on the 24x7 availability of instant payment systems such as FAST to enable payment settlement in the destination market, even outside normal business hours.

Results show that:

  • The fastest payment in the trial, from Australia into Singapore and processed onward via FAST, took only 13 seconds
  • The fastest payment into Asia Pacific from Europe took only 15 seconds and from North America in 20 seconds
  • All payments were processed end-to-end within 25 seconds
  • 11 banks initiated cross-border payments into Singapore, and six banks in Singapore processed the payments domestically via the FAST system.

The successful global trial comes on the back of a  2018 test with a group of banks and Australia’s New Payments Platform (NPP) in which payments between Australia and China took just 18 seconds, and ahead of an upcoming test with banks and the TARGET Instant Payments Settlement (TIPS) in Europe. Together, the TIPS, FAST and NPP instant payment systems are the first of many domestic real-time infrastructures, connected via the banks and using gpi, that will enable a globallyscalable instant cross-border payments service. Additional tests are planned in other markets with instant payment systems, ahead of the planned global launch of gpi Instant later this year. 

Harry Newman, Head of Banking, Swift, said: “Across the world, through gpi, banks and Instant Payment systems are using our existing rails for international payments to meet today’s need for speed, traceability and transparency. Swift envisages that cross-border payments will become as convenient as domestic transactions, and the successful testing across multiple corridors between Europe and North America to Asia Pacific confirms the important role that gpi Instant will play in making that bold vision a reality.”

Peng Hua, Deputy General Manager, Operations Management Department of ICBC, said: “The trial represents a significant milestone for Swift and we are proud to be part of this ongoing progress. ICBC is prepared for and very much looking forward to the live application of gpi Instant. We are also eager to work with other financial institutions on other gpi Instant trials to develop what we believe is a service that will offer tremendous value to the payments industry.”

Serge Munten, Head of Agile Operations, Banque Internationale à Luxembourg, said: “As an innovative bank striving to offer our correspondent banking and corporate clients cutting-edge
services, it was only natural for BIL to participate in this gpi Instant payment trial. We were very pleased that it only took 15 seconds to carry out the test payments between Europe and Asia. These pilot tests with Swift are part of our efforts to offer our clients the same high level of services for worldwide payments they have come to appreciate for domestic payments.”

Quotes from participating banks:

“At ANZ we believe it is important to support initiatives such as the gpi Instant Payments service in order to continue the innovation delivered when Swift GPI was first introduced. Swift GPI is constantly re-imagining how cross border payments are processed to deliver an enhanced and improved customer experience and the gpi Instant Payments service is a case in point. The gpi Instant Payments service provides the opportunity for banks to push the boundaries of conventional cut-off times allowing a far more real time experience than is available today and significantly improving the last mile in the cross border payment lifecycle.” Luke Perkins, Director Clearing Services, ANZ

“At Bangkok Bank, we focus on innovation and the future by developing secure, digital ways to bank and manage money. We are keen to provide the most up-to-date financial services solutions that enable our clients to manage their personal finance as well as operate their businesses more efficiently. The success of the trial to integrate Swift GPI for remittances between Thailand and Singapore via FAST demonstrates the potential to be faster and more efficient than ever. The service will provide clients with near real-time payments and same-day use of funds along with enhanced transparency, predictability of fees and end-to-end payments tracking for all intermediary banks. We look forward to further leveraging the Swift GPI Instant cross-border payments service in a secure and authenticated manner to present the best possible choices for our clients on many more corridors.” Pongbhoka Buddhi-Baedya, Vice President and Manager, Global Payment Services Department, Bangkok Bank

“This successful gpi-FAST trial marks a milestone for Swift cross-border real-time payments, and we are proud to be part of this significant project. As the most globalised and integrated Chinese bank, Bank of China has a well-established network with overseas institutions set up across 57 countries and regions. Bank of China believes in a fast, transparent and reliable cross-border payment system to support our vast network of customers across the globe. The results from the trial give us great confidence that the application of gpi Instant will make cross-border payments more convenient and secure. In the future, leveraging on the Group’s global network and integrated platform, we will continue to devote efforts in promoting the deep integration of innovative techniques and providing excellent financial service to our global customers.” Zhang Lyu Xia, General Manager, Operation Department, Bank of China Singapore Branch

“We’re incredibly proud to participate in this proof-of-concept with Swift to simplify payments for international commerce and create safe, fast, always-available, cross-border payments for our customers. As the first bank in Australia to implement a real-time, 24/7 core banking platform, and one of the first major Banks to go live on the New Payments Platform (NPP), providing instant cross-border payments for our customers makes a lot of sense. At CommBank we see no boundaries creating world-leading digital experiences, and providing cross-border instant payments speaks directly to our goal of always being the best in digital.” Satinder Singh, General Manager, Deposits and International Solutions, Commonwealth Bank of Australia

“The dynamic pace of global commerce is defined by the speed and efficiency of cross-border payments. Singapore has sought to be at the forefront of digital and payments innovation. As the lead-bank for the Standards Workgroup, one of the key drivers for this initiative, DBS is working closely with the industry to define the roadmap to this next frontier in payments.” Atul Bhuchar, Group Payments Head, Global Transaction Services, DBS

“HSBC ‎remains committed to providing outstanding payments experience and outcomes to our clients.  We are investing heavily in a digital instant payment future. The Swift GPI initiative provides a solid foundation for this future with Traceability, Transparency and Speed for cross border payments. HSBC’s successful testing of gpi Instant in Singapore is a key milestone, validating our capabilities of seamlessly integrating cross border payments with domestic instant payment systems.” Lewis Sun, Managing Director, Regional Head of Product Management, Global Liquidity and Cash Management, Asia-Pacific, HSBC

“This rapid trend in real-time payment for cross-border settlement is picking up momentum. First of all, we would like to congratulate Swift on doing a terrific job in onboarding different domestic corridors around the world towards a frictionless cross-border payments ecosystem in this gpi Instant initiative. KASIKORNBANK has been focused on giving our customers the seamless experience and eliminating time zone constrict plays a big role in creating a global inter-operational network. We look forward to future developments.” Silawat Santivisat, Senior Executive Vice President, KASIKORNBANK

“This trial demonstrates the effectiveness of linking Swift GPI to domestic real time payment systems to complete the final leg of the payment journey.  Not only will customers receive payments quickly with extended settlement hours, but they will also have end-to-end tracking for transparency, even with non-gpi banks. NAB is committed to enhancing the customer experience for payments by improving speed, transparency and certainty. “ Paul Franklin, General Manager, Payments, National Australia Bank Limited

“One of SCB’s major strategic moves to drive business is to embrace strong partnership banking which is critical to build new competitiveness for expansion in the current business landscape.  The collaboration with Swift to test Swift GPI Instant Payment through the Fast and Secure Transfer (FAST) system in Singapore will help improve efficiency and speed up cross border fund transfers in a matter of seconds.  In the future, this new service will accommodate the cross-border instant payment service in the Asia region, enabling convenient and quick inward and outward remittances just like domestic transfers.” Auraratana Jutimitta, First Executive Vice President and Chief Retail and Business Banking Officer at Siam Commercial Bank

“We are pleased to participate in the gpi Instant service trial for cross-border payments into Singapore and are actively involved in shaping business rules with other participating banks. Instant settlement of cross-border payments is a necessary and logical extension for Swift GPI. With Instant service, cross-border payments can be received outside of normal business hours, which help our corporate clients improve working capital management and deliver a better banking experience." Shirish Wadivkar, Global Head of Correspondent Banking Products, Standard Chartered Bank

Participants in the instant cross-border payments trial include:

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

Bangkok Bank
Bank of China
Commonwealth Bank
DBS Bank
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
National Australia Bank
Siam Commercial Bank
Standard Chartered Bank

Banque Internationale à Luxembourg Bangkok Bank  Bank of China


North America
Royal Bank of Canada

Press Contacts:
+32 (0)2655 3377

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.

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.