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Introducing the Global Payments Innovation Initiative

Including an exclusive interview with Wim Raymaekers, Head of Banking Markets, SWIFT

SWIFT’s global payments innovation initiative which aims to streamline and increase transparency of cross-border payments, has attracted enormous interest from both banks and corporate treasurers. In this feature, Helen Sanders, Editor, discusses the objectives and progress of the initiative so far with Wim Raymaekers, Head of Banking Markets at SWIFT.

What is the global payments innovation initiative?

This new initiative from SWIFT introduces a multilateral service level agreement across banks to create a common standard for processing cross-border payments, which in turn will transform correspondent banking. Through the first of these service level agreements, corporate treasurers will gain same-day use of funds, have access to rich payment information which is transferred between parties to a transaction, and have greater transparency and predictability of fees, including FX costs. Each transaction will also have a unique reference number which can be tracked from end-to-end through a new, cloud-based solution which banks will ultimately integrate into their electronic banking tools. A pilot is underway, the results of which will be presented at Sibos 2016 in September.

Where did the concept first originate?

The initiative was first conceived as part of SWIFT’s 2020 strategy as a result of a unique collaboration with both banks and corporations. There are a variety of projects taking place globally to increase the speed and convenience of domestic payments which have in turn resulted in increased demand for faster, more transparent cross-border payments. We presented our preliminary ideas at Sibos in 2015 and based on the scale of support, we launched the initiative at the end of the year. At the time of writing, 73 banks have now signed up to the global payments innovation initiative just six months since it was first launched.

Global Payments Innovation Initiative: Key Points