SWIFT has joined forces with a group of SWIFT gpi banks from Australia, China, Singapore and Thailand to develop a unique cross-border real-time payments service in the Asia Pacific region.
SWIFT has held exploratory talks with banks from the Asia Pacific region, including ANZ, Bangkok Bank, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, China Guangfa Bank, Commonwealth Bank, DBS, ICBC, Kasikornbank, NAB, Siam Commercial Bank, UOB and Westpac about the development of an Asia Pacific cross-border real-time payments system based on gpi. At the workshops SWIFT and the participating banks determined that such a service would have significant benefits that would extend beyond gpi banks and their customers, deep into the domestic markets, eventually affording a complete real-time cross border payments experience for all bank customers in the region.
The group agreed the service should be rolled out in three distinct phases:
Phase 1 will see the introduction of a new real-time gpi sub-scheme, to facilitate real-time cross-border payments between gpi banks in the region. Building on the significant success of SWIFT gpi payments, which already significantly reduce cross-border payment times to minutes, will ensure real-time settlement of cross-border payments between signatory gpi banks in the region.
Phase 2 will effectively extend the SWIFT gpi rails into existing real-time payment systems within each recipient country, thus ensuring that “inwards and onwards” payments can be settled in real-time in each of the four markets, irrespective of whether the final beneficiaries hold accounts at banks that are connected to SWIFT or that are using gpi.
A third phase would look to link domestic real-time payment systems via SWIFT gpi to facilitate full cross-border real-time payments between their respective customers. This aims to enable both sending and receiving account holders to benefit from a full real-time payments experience - again independently of whether they hold accounts at banks that are connected to SWIFT or using gpi.
Eddie Haddad, Managing Director of SWIFT Asia Pacific said: “With the widespread adoption of domestic real-time payments systems in the region, a cross-border real-time service is both a natural extension for SWIFT gpi in Asia Pacific and a real game-changer for bank customers. SWIFT is uniquely positioned to help our customers leverage their existing investments in infrastructure, to standardise connectivity across multiple markets and to drive efficiencies in support of cross-border trade, facilitating further integration in the ASEAN region.”
“With the widespread adoption of domestic real-time payments systems in the region, a cross-border real-time service is both a natural extension for SWIFT gpi in Asia Pacific and a real game-changer for bank customers. SWIFT is uniquely positioned to help our customers leverage their existing investments in infrastructure, to standardise connectivity across multiple markets and to drive efficiencies in support of cross-border trade, facilitating further integration in the ASEAN region.
Eddie Haddad, Managing Director of SWIFT Asia Pacific
Following the initial workshops, SWIFT and participating gpi member banks have begun work on defining a common cross-border real-time scheme that banks can review and test. The design of the new service will build on existing SWIFT gpi service rules to help resolve additional business process frictions in the payments chain. SWIFT has also commenced discussions with the New Payments Platform (NPP) in Australia to enable SWIFT gpi payments to be processed onwards through their newly launched domestic real-time payments system. SWIFT has helped to design, build and deliver the NPP, and is playing a key role in operating the infrastructure for the NPP.
Launched in 2017, gpi already accounts for nearly 10% of SWIFT cross-border payment traffic, and is enabling more than a hundred billion dollars to be transferred across the world rapidly and securely every day. More than 160 banks, including 48 out of the 50 top banks on SWIFT, have signed up to the service, sending hundreds of thousands of payments daily across 350 country corridors - including major corridors such as USA-China, where gpi already accounts for more than 30% of payment traffic.
“SWIFT gpi already reduces cross-border payment times to minutes, even seconds and indeed nearly 50% of gpi payments are already being completed in less than 30 minutes”, said Haddad. “This new scheme will both further speed up those payments, and extend the reach of the gpi capability far deeper into domestic markets, driving radical change in the cross-border payments market across the region. We look forward to seeing this work in practice and to more countries, and banks joining the new service.”
Below are some comments from participating banks:
“It is a natural extension of the SWIFT gpi proposition that we look to connect real-time payment infrastructures - such as the NPP in Australia - with similar platforms in other markets. By exploring how to connect with other infrastructures, we will be able to deliver faster cross-border payments to our customers in close to real-time, regardless of time zones and the constraints of daily cut-off times” - Mark Evans, Managing Director of Transaction Banking, ANZ
“Bangkok Bank is excited to explore cross-border real-time payments with SWIFT, which we believe will deepen connectivity across the global payments landscape, in turn providing us with increased speed and transparency in cross-border payments. The initiative will help deliver a more efficient and predictable payments experience with direct benefit to our clients” - Pongbhoka Buddhi-Baedya, Head of Global Payment Services, Bangkok Bank
“CBA is one of the largest users of SWIFT’s gpi and one of the first major banks in Australia to go live on NPP. The take-up of our NPP solution by our customers has been exceptionally strong and we are excited about the possibilities that combining the two can create” - Michael Eidel, Executive General Manager, Cash-flow and Transaction Services, Commonwealth Bank
“DBS is proud to be amongst the first Asian banks to go live with SWIFT gpi, an industry initiative. SWIFT gpi enables corporate customers to track their cross-border payments end-to-end on a real-time basis and have clear information on funds being credited to recipients’ accounts. The on-demand tracking capability has transformed corporate customers’ experience with cross-border payments, strengthened the financial supply chain relationship between buyer and seller, and also reduced customer service requests received at the bank” - Navinder Duggal, Group Head of Cash Product Management, DBS
“Taking advantage of the new cross-border real-time payments service, ICBC believes that the efficiency of cross-border payments will increase significantly and the connectivity across markets in Asia Pacific region will be highly enhanced. ICBC will integrate inner resources to push the R&D process of this service and explore the application among its overseas branches” - Peng Hua, Deputy General Manager, Operation Management Department, ICBC
"Making real-time transaction for cross-border remittance will become a norm in near future. SWIFT gpi has been extending to many valid use cases that enhance the opportunity to make cross-border payments less complicated for all parties" - Silawat Santivisat, Executive Vice President, Corporate Product and Service Division, Kasikornbank
“We are continually looking for opportunities to deliver better customer experiences, and key to this is collaborating with like-minded organisations and leveraging API technology. Enabling real-time delivery of cross-border payments will provide significant benefits to our customers” - Paul Franklin, General Manager, Payments, Customer Products & Services, National Australia Bank Limited