The transaction banking landscape is transforming in front of our eyes. With the field awash with new technological capabilities, Jan Kupfer and Luca Corsini, Global Co-Heads, Global Transaction Banking at UniCredit, discuss the latest trends, their likely impacts, and how the industry can draw together to maximise the benefits for all.
What innovations and trends are you seeing in transaction banking?
This year is a momentous one for the digitisation of payments. SWIFT’s global payments innovation (gpi), is already up and running – providing a secure and scalable cross-border payments solution that meets corporate demands in terms of speed and transparency. UniCredit launched a SWIFT gpi pilot with one of our financial institution clients back in January – a project that has grown to the point where, today, we are processing thousands of payments a month. And with 110 other major banks currently part of the SWIFT gpi initiative, momentum is set to continue building.
Moreover, the introduction of instant payments in Europe later this year will also have a profound impact. Banks and corporates alike are hard at work preparing for the switch, with many corporates – particularly in the B2C space – looking to adapt their operations to seize the new opportunities posed by real-time functionality. Sectors such as e-Commerce are particularly well placed to benefit – with instant receipt of payments meaning goods can be prepared, dispatched and delivered quicker than ever before. A prime example of this transformation phase is our collaboration with Alipay, the world’s largest online and mobile payment platform. Users can purchase goods and services in Italy simply by using the app to which they have grown accustomed. We are also the first bank in Italy to offer Apple Pay to its six million card-holder customers, making it possible to pay using Apple Pay in shops, through apps, and online.
UniCredit, again, is prepared for the shift. We recently started testing instant payments with RT1, EBA Clearing’s pan-European, real-time payment platform – a key milestone as we prepare to roll out euro instant payment products later this year.