Financial messaging network Swift targeted as many as 60 corporate and banking customers in live production of the new Lite interface device within just three months of its official launch at Sibos in September 2008.
The 'Alliance Lite' interface uses a standard Internet connection with a Swift-issued hardware security token, which can be provided on a USB memory stick. Once activated, corporate users can send payment instructions via Swift to their financial institutions in whatever format they want.
The formal launch of the product followed a six-month beta run with 20 pilot companies, comprising roughly 10 corporates and 10 low volume banks from the US and Europe. Feedback from the pilot - which addressed security issues, data entry re-keying and Swift terminology - has been incorporated into the live launch.
Alliance Lite is designed for companies sending and receiving up to 200 items a day and is priced at a monthly flat fee of EUR850 for 4000 messages, or pay-as-you-go at EUR200 per month and EUR1 per transfer. The first release provided functionality for financial institutions and corporates: multibank payment initiation, cash reporting, and foreign exchange transactions. An alternative Lite interface device aimed at the fund management community is next on the production line.
The Society is targetting 200 users per year, which is roughly half the 400 new customers it sees coming onboard annually. Financial institutions with a low volume transactions have traditionally gone to a service bureau for their Swift messaging needs, but a number will now go to Alliance Lite, as will some of the corporates that are joining.
Finextra verdict: Alliance Lite will prove to be a useful service for certain Swift customers, and should help it attract even more low-volume users in the fund industry.