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Real-Time Payments in Asia-Pacific: SWIFT Launches Pilot

  • By Andrew Deichler
  • Published: 10/23/2018

australia1
SWIFT has completed a successful connection of its gpi cross-border payments service to the real-time payments system in Australia. The financial messaging giant is also enhancing tracking capabilities for gpi, which is music to the ears of corporate treasury professionals.

SPEEDING UP CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS

Although SWIFT’s cross-border gpi service allows payments to be credited in minutes or seconds, clearing can be delayed due to operating hours of domestic payment systems. But with more countries adopting real-time payments initiatives, SWIFT is working to make gpi payments to and from those countries real-time as well. In particular, SWIFT has been targeting countries in the APAC region.

One such country is Australia, which launched its real-time payments system, the New Payments Platform (NPP), earlier this year. The collaboration with gpi now allows payments from China, Singapore or Thailand to settle via a local correspondent bank in less than 30 seconds. The process previously took several hours.

“This is a great step toward creating interoperability for close to real-time cross-border payments,” said Magnus Carlsson, AFP’s manager of treasury and payments. “With gpi expanding its reach, this can certainly remove some traditional pain points of international transactions.”

Enhanced Tracking

SWIFT gpi, which is now being used to send more than 1.3 million payments daily, will soon include the “tracker for all” service. From 2019 forward, all banks on the SWIFT network will be able to track and confirm SWIFT payment instructions, as well as have visibility over their payment activity. This extends even to banks that are not signed up to gpi, though all SWIFT banks are slated to accept the service by the end of 2020.

SWIFT has also launched gpi for Corporates (g4C), which banks can use to provide information to their corporate clients via FIN and ISO 20022 standards. Using the service, corporate treasury departments can initiate and track gpi payments to and from multiple banks in a single format. By integrating gpi into their ERP and treasury management systems, treasury teams will have real-time, end-to-end visibility over their cross-border payment flows.

According to SWIFT, nine international corporates (Airbus, Booking.com, Borealis, General Electric, IATA, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Microsoft, Ping An Group, and Roche), working seven gpi banks (BBVA, Citi, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Société Générale, and Standard Chartered Bank), have gone live on g4C, successfully implementing multibank tracking of gpi payments in their treasury applications.

“The lack of transparency has long been an issue for corporate end-users, so expanding the gpi tracking feature to all payments is very welcome,” Carlsson said. “New technologies have increased capabilities and competition for cross-border payments, and set the focus on what end-users need. This positive trend is now reflected in specific developments for corporates.”

For more insights on gpi and other cross-border payments systems, be sure to download the latest AFP Payments Guide, underwritten by MUFG Union Bank. AFP 2018 also has multiple sessions on cross-border payments in the Payments Track.

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