For anybody interested in payments and SWIFT, the SWIFT announcement last week of a Global Payments Innovation initiative was hardly a bombshell. In fact with all of the hype around fintech companies eating up incumbents, and the need for traditional financial institutions to become more innovative and attentive to customer demands you could argue that SWIFT are playing catch up. Anyway, what surprised me was the widespread attention this particular announcement received – so in this post i will go through a quick Q&A of the SWIFT Global Payments Innovation initiative….
What is the SWIFT Global Payments Initiative?
The global payments initiative will improve payments processing for corporates by providing better:
- Same day access to funds
- Visibility of fees
- End to end payment visibility
- Remittance information to suppliers
Who is the SWIFT Global Payments Initiative targeted at?
In a word, corporates! Its worth noting that the initiative is initially targeting business-to-business payments with participating banks. It would be really good to get a list of participating banks, and in which geographies they are participating…
When will the SWIFT Global Payments Initiative go live?
The announcement says early 2016, and indicates that it will be a pilot. I am guessing that means a couple of banks in a region…?!?! Look out for SWIFT press releases or watch this space for more information….
What is the purpose of the Global Payments Initiative?
According to SWIFT it will:
- Focus on cross border payments…
- Help corporates with their cross border payments processing – by providing real time payment status monitoring
- Improve supplier relationships – for example by providing better remittance information
- Enable treasury efficiencies – by improving liquidity
- Improve speed and bank payment processing – through the introduction of Service Level Agreements (SLA’s)
Why is this Global Payments Initiative different?
This is the interesting part. So in order to deliver this ‘mainstream’ solution SWIFT are:
- Working with Innotribe – the innovative arm of SWIFT that are doing all of the funky / sexy stuff
- Focusing on cross border payments – which let’s face it, is often forgotten about
- Introducing SLA’s to cross border payments – this will bring a defined service level to cross border payments and make the banks – correspondent / intermediary – accountable
- The Technology being used – the press release talks about real time payment tracking, peer to peer messaging and most importantly blockhain….
Whhaaattt? Blockchain and SWIFT….?
Yeah! The SWIFT banking markets man Wim Raymaekers mentions blockchain in the press release and this has kicked off a lot of discussion! We don’t know the juicy technology details driving the global payments innovation initiative, but the mere mention of blockchain has resulted in various authorities offering their views. Without a doubt, the distributed ledger comment has attracted significant attention from peeps – this is what they’re saying…
- Check out a mix of views presented by The Coin Telegraph – ranging from applause to caution around SWIFT’s ‘adoption’ of the distributed ledger
- The International Business Times talks about the ying and yang between a centralised and decentralised ledger system and the challenges for banks to adopt such a technology
- CryptoCoinNews considers the varying capabilities between banks, and the global compliance challenges presents by blockchain
- Silicon Angle talk about the time it will take for an organisation like SWIFT to implement blockchain, and the challenges they face with other more nimble and innovative startups such as Ripple getting into this space
- FinExtra provide a very interesting perspective questioning who will be the middleman of the future….
- The International Business Times talk about Ripple, Securities Settlements and the future of KYC
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