SWIFT Plans Move into Real-time Retail Domestic Payments

Financial messaging services provider SWIFT plans to develop real-time retail domestic payment solutions, starting with an offering that allows domestic retail payments to be made instantly between financial institutions (FIs) and their customers’ accounts.

SWIFT’s first delivery in this area will be the New Payments Platform (NPP), a new Australian infrastructure. Developed together with local FIs, the platform is expected to go live in 2017.

SWIFT’s said that the real-time payments solution “will use innovative peer-to-peer [P2P] technology, reusing and reconfiguring SWIFT components already deployed in proven market infrastructure projects, and building on SWIFT interfaces to drive efficiencies for customers.”

It added that the move is “a strategic response from SWIFT to the clear global shift towards real-time retail payments. Today, approximately 15 countries operate domestic real-time retail payments systems and another eight countries are in the process of, or are considering, rolling one out.”

“The trend in retail payments is having a profound impact on the payments ecosystem and is highly relevant to SWIFT’s core business,” said Gottfried Leibbrandt, chief executive officer (CEO), SWIFT. “With SWIFT’s instant retail payments solution, banks can leverage their existing SWIFT infrastructure, resulting in a cost-effective solution with word-class resiliency.

“As a strategic partner to many payment market infrastructures across the globe, SWIFT’s move into real-time retail payments is a natural extension of our business as we strive to meet the changing needs of domestic payment systems and their customers worldwide.”

Australia Debut

Australia’s New Payments Platform (NPP) steering committee announced it has selected SWIFT to provide the infrastructure for its NPP project, a new Australian fast payments infrastructure. The new platform will provide Australian businesses and consumers with a fast, versatile, data-rich payments system for everyday payments.

The NPP is being developed collaboratively by 12 leading FIs in Australia, as the local industry’s response to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) strategic objectives on payments innovation, and implements the former Real Time Payments Committee’s proposal on innovation in the domestic payments system.

There will be three main technology components to the solution developed by SWIFT for the Australian community:

  • The network: A domestic messaging channel that enables participants to exchange a high volume of messages in-country, with low latency on a 24×7 basis.
  • The switch: A payments gateway that orchestrates clearing and settlement flows.
  • The addressing database: A proxy addressing lookup service allowing payment routing based on personal identifiers such as a mobile phone number or email address.

Alain Raes, CEO of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific at SWIFT, said: “Australia is one of a growing number of countries looking to implement new domestic payments systems in order to achieve faster and more cost-efficient payments. This is a significant first step for SWIFT in this space.

Beyond Australia, SWIFT is now exploring how best to deploy these capabilities in a standardised way across multiple markets, generating economies of scale for its customers


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