In this Executive Interview, Bruno Mellado, Head of International Payments and Collections, BNP Paribas Cash Management, shares his views on some of the most exciting developments in the payments space today, whilst explaining how new technologies can work in harmony with existing infrastructures to drive innovation.
The cross-border payments landscape has evolved significantly over the last 12-18 months. In your view, what are the most important developments for treasurers to be aware of?
In the digital age, it is no longer acceptable that international payments take several days to process – and yet supply chains work on a just-in-time basis, with parts being shipped all over the world in a matter of hours. What’s more, almost one in every 200 cross-border payments gets held up, often as a result of incomplete data, drawing out the international payments process even further.
Thankfully, a number of different initiatives are now under way with the aim of improving international payments through the use of technologies such as cloud computing and blockchain and new networks. Many of these initiatives are being run by alternative payment service providers and BNP Paribas has participated in several initiatives with new and existing players in this sphere, since we believe the future of cross-border payments depends on greater collaboration. After a very successful pilot, we are launching our new blockchain-based payment solution for corporates in the coming months.
Despite the promise of these alternative networks, SWIFT’s global payments innovation (SWIFT gpi) initiative is emerging as a frontrunner in the race for better cross-border payments. Connecting the largest ecosystem of payment providers, including BNP Paribas, SWIFT gpi offers a standardised environment that is well suited to corporates who want to process high value international payments in a secure yet speedy and transparent manner.