HSBC is partnering with Petra Financial to offer its clients automated BIC and Iban directory and validation tools for Sepa-compliant cross-border payments.
The new tool will allow clients to validate Bank Identifier Codes (BIC) and International Bank Numbering (Iban) details before payment submission or, if required, to derive these details from a bank name, address and BBAN (Basic Bank Account Number), subject to counterparty verification.
Under the Single Euro Payments Area, the use of BIC and Iban to identify the bank and account of the beneficiary has become mandatory for all cross-border payments in euros within the region. Additionally, several European countries have adopted Iban as part of their own domestic payment standard.
Industry observers believe the conversion to the new standards represents a potential stumbling block for straight-through processing under Sepa as corporates struggle to source the correct counterparty codes.
Paul Nixon, senior product manager, financial institutions, global payments and cash management, Europe, HSBC Bank Plc, says the switch is already having an impact on many of the bank's clients worldwide.
"It has proved difficult for many of our financial institution and corporate clients to get hold of the information needed to complete a payment in accordance with the new standards," he says. "By incorporating this STP tool as an integral part of a global BIC lookup application, we feel we have gone a long way towards meeting our clients' needs."
The tool is available either on-line or on a CD. In conjunction with Petra Financial, HSBC also offers a service for the wholesale cleansing of back-office (payables or receivables) records.