SWIFT pledge to speed up cross-border payments

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SWIFT is launching a global payments innovation initiative, which the payment services provider promises will improve the customer experience in correspondent banking by increasing the speed, transparency and predictability of cross-border payments.

“Designed in collaboration with the industry, the initiative will initially focus on a business-to-business [B2B] payments service supported by participating banks in early 2016,” the group announced.

SWIFT says that the new service will help corporates grow their international business, improve supplier relationships, and achieve greater treasury efficiencies. Corporates will be able to receive an enhanced payments service directly from their banks, with key features including same day use of funds; transparency and predictability of fees; end-to-end payments tracking; and transfer of rich payment information.

The group adds that the new service will operate on the basis of ‘business rules’ captured in multilateral service level agreements (SLAs) between participating banks. It will address end-customer needs, without compromising banks’ abilities to meet their compliance obligations, market, credit and liquidity risk requirements.

It will operate on SWIFT’s global platform, with participation will be open to any supervised financial institution that is a member of SWIFT.

“Correspondent banking serves the industry with millions of secure cross-border payments day in, day out; with the global payments innovation initiative we are building on those strengths, enabling banks to provide distinctive cross-border payments services and providing real benefits to end customers,” said Gottfried Leibbrandt, SWIFT’s chief executive (CEO). “This is a critical step in cross-border payments innovation.”

Following the pilot, focused on cross-border payments for corporates, SWIFT aims to incorporate additional innovations and deploy new technologies as part of the global payments innovation initiative. The group says that it will work with the industry to define additional service level agreements that will cater for other client groups, further reducing the costs and frictions arising from compliance, liquidity and processing efficiency considerations involved in cross-border payments.

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