SWIFT pilots low-value cross-border payments services

Venerable interbank payments consortium SWIFT is accelerating its fight back against non-bank cross-border payments disruptors. Last month, the company announced its strategy for securities processing and cross-border payments infrastructure, after having delayed ISO 20022 migration to the end of 2022.

This month the bank-owned organisation, which was founded in 1973, announced its new service aimed at small to medium businesses and consumers that need to transfer low-value cross-border payments. Under this, SWIFT will help banks and other financial institutions to implement these services.

Currently, SWIFT is working with 20 banks to develop this service which is built on the SWIFT gpi platform and high-speed rails. According to SWIFT, “this new initiative will enable consumers and SMEs to benefit from predictable payments, with costs and processing times known upfront, and real-time status available to both originator and beneficiary customers via their financial institutions”.

The first payments through this network were first exchanged in the last week of September 2020 between the banks who are in this development. These banks include Bank of China, Barclays, BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, KEB Hana Bank, MYbank, National Australia Bank, SMBC, Standard Bank, StoneX, UniCredit and Wells Fargo. Additional banks which have been roped in for this pilot phase project starting from October end include Banca Intesa, BBVA, DNB, HSBC, Sberbank of Russia, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered.

The service according to SWIFT will be available to all gpi financial institutions in 2021.

“The success of SWIFT gpi, which is used by thousands of banks and carries billions of payments globally, enables ever-faster transaction processing times and transparency. And it now provides us with the opportunity to transform the experience in the SME and consumer payment markets”, said David Watson, Chief Strategy Officer at SWIFT.