Interview

SWIFT gpi - the new norm for international payments

Thursday 18 October 2018 09:34 CET | Interview

Wim Raymaekers, SWIFT: SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) revamps cross-border payments by increasing the speed, transparency, and end-to-end tracking of payments

What is SWIFT gpi, when was it introduced and what are the major milestones achieved to date?

SWIFT gpi is transforming cross-border payments by enabling beneficiaries to be credited within minutes, much of the time even seconds. What is more, this service is allowing payments to be tracked from end-to-end, like a parcel, offering full transparency on what fees will be charged along the way.

Introduced early last year, SWIFT gpi already has nearly 300 hundred banks, corporates and fintechs on board – with many more to come.

In fact, things are going so well that we are fast-tracking SWIFT gpi’s adoption across all banks on the network. In June 2018, the SWIFT Board – representing the entire SWIFT community – endorsed the move for universal gpi adoption by the end of 2020. This will mean that every bank on the SWIFT network will be able to confirm payments received, and offer end-to-end tracking and transparency, throughout the payment chain.

Which banks have committed to going live with SWIFT gpi and which are the ones already live? How are these banks collaborating to make the most of this initiative?

Over 280 of the world’s biggest financial institutions are using it to send over USD 100 billion every day – with new joiners every day. Most recently, Santander has partnered with SWIFT to go live in four countries, namely, Spain, the UK, Poland, and Argentina, while Standard Chartered went live in Germany.

It’s not just the big banks though. Corporates and fintechs are getting in on the action too. A few weeks ago, Ebury became the first fintech to go live. This marks an important milestone as new entrants are now joining up in addition to traditional banks, proof of the widespread appeal of SWIFT gpi.

SWIFT is also working with its non-bank customer on gpi for corporates (g4C) – a new multi-bank payments tracking solution on SWIFT gpi that allows corporates to initiate and track gpi payments to and from multiple banks.

By working with several multinational corporates and leading banks, we are enabling corporates to have a real-time, end-to-end view on their cross-border payments flows for the first time, allowing them to improve their cash forecasting and optimise their liquidity.

What are the benefits of SWIFT gpi for banks and corporates alike?

Dramatic improvements in speed, transparency and tracking are the hallmarks of SWIFT gpi. Among the tools we’ve created that are making this a reality include the SWIFT Tracker – a new service ‘in the cloud’ and securely hosted by SWIFT, which gives end-to-end visibility in real-time on the status of a payment transaction from the moment it is sent right up to when it is confirmed in the beneficiary’s account.

Recently we also launched a gpi Observer Analytics tool – a new resource for gpi banks to gain more comprehensive business insights into their gpi traffic flows. This will allow them to optimise payment routings and steer their cross-border payment strategies. Furthermore, it will enable them to fine-tune SLAs with their correspondent banks, leading to lower costs and faster payments – and, ultimately, an improved customer value proposition.

SWIFT gpi has also transformed the cross-border payments for corporates as they can now track and trace cross-border payments. With an end-to-end view on outgoing payments, they can dramatically reduce their bank payment enquiries and be certain that end-customers have been credited. Inevitably, this will improve supplier relationships, speed up invoice reconciliation and achieve greater efficiencies.

How does SWIFT gpi fit into the context of the Open Banking ecosystem and open APIs?

As the expectations from regulators and customers shift the industry towards more open access to financial services, SWIFT is playing a lead role in unlocking the potential of API technology by providing a neutral collaboration platform to develop the common data standards the industry needs.

With the huge amount of standards experience we have at SWIFT, it is fitting that we’re at the forefront of API standardisation and of the efforts to avoid fragmentation of approach, as the industry embraces API technology. From Europe to Australia, SWIFT is playing its part the world over to support the industry on this front.

In addition, we are exploring how to further integrate the gpi experience into B2B and DLT-enabled ecosystems. Our aim is to ensure that the non-SWIFT parties in these ecosystems can generate a payment initiation via an open API, have it settled via the gpi banks, and receive a credit confirmation back, thus enabling the B2B/DLT conversation to continue as seamlessly as possible.

What can we expect to hear from this year’s Sibos sessions, both on gpi and trends from the industry? What new services are coming live in 2019?

One of the key topics at Sibos this year will be gpi and no matter where your institution is on the journey, this year’s Sibos caters for all. We will host several gpi-specific sessions – including ‘SWIFT gpi – the new norm for international payments’, ‘An implementation model for every bank’ and ‘Lessons learned implementing gpi’. Other sessions will focus on new initiatives that will help banks stay ahead of the curve, while others will focus more on the benefits for corporates.

In terms of recent and upcoming developments, SWIFT has been working on making instant cross-border payments a reality too – as more and more countries offer domestic real-time payments. For instance, over recent months we have been trialling the link-up of SWIFT gpi, via a gpi member, to domestic real-time payments systems in the Asia-Pacific region. Developments in this space are something to look out for in the very near future.

We’re also constantly improving gpi for all our customers. For example, we recently announced the introduction of a ‘pre-validation’ service that will allow customers to detect and resolve errors that otherwise could delay payment messages before they are dispatched. Using secure APIs, predictive analysis and artificial intelligence, the new gpi capability will pre-validate messages, identifying and flagging potential issues ahead of time – thereby reducing delays, rejections and the return of incorrect payment messages.

These are just some of the exciting things we’re doing as we transform cross-border payments with gpi. At Sibos, we’ll discuss them a whole lot more!

About Wim Raymaekers

Wim leads SWIFT’s banking initiatives worldwide, and is responsible for driving value propositions across the community. Wim’s mission is to help banks grow their business, in view of evolving customer needs, technology innovations, and market requirements. Since joining SWIFT, he has developed initiatives that help banks achieve operational efficiency and reduce costs, as well as improve liquidity management. He is responsible for thought leadership initiatives in the areas of correspondent banking, distributed ledger technologies, RMB internationalisation, and assists banks with the implementation of these into their strategic product offering. More recently, Wim is leading SWIFT’s global payments innovation (gpi) initiative.

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.


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Keywords: SWIFT, SWIFT gpi, interview, Wim Raymaekers, cross-border payments, International Payments, payments, SIBOS, banks
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