Interbank messaging network Swift has signed 73 banks to its global payments initiative, a range of service level agreements intended to improve the customer experience in correspondent banking by increasing the speed, transparency and predictability of cross-border payments.
The first phase of the initiative is well underway with a pilot focused on business-to-business payments. In addition, over 40 banks have already participated in a series of workshops held in Frankfurt, Singapore, London and New York in April and May, to help sketch out a new vision for correspondent banking dubbed "the digital transformation of cross-border payments".
With the new banks onboard, Swift says the initiative now covers 75% of all cross-border payments crossing the network.
Under the programme, corporate users will be exposed to same day use of funds, transparency and predictability of fees, end-to-end payments tracking and richer payments information.
On the technology side, Swift has committed to develop a 'database in the cloud', to report on the status of a payment transaction, from the moment it is sent until it is confirmed - similar to tracking services provided by international shipping companies.
Wim Raymaekers, head of banking markets, Swift, says: "This new payments tracker is a great example of collaborative innovation. For the first time, banks will be able to give their customers precise information about their payments, in real-time, including confirmation of credit to beneficiary's account."