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Selecting the Best SWIFT Service Bureau

by Marcus Hughes, Director Business Development, Bottomline Technologies

It can be challenging for treasurers new to SWIFT to make the right choice when selecting a SWIFT service bureau, especially as there are over 125 such bureaus globally used by over 3,500 SWIFT members, i.e., more than one-third of SWIFT’s total membership.

Caveat emptor

With so many bureaus to choose from, treasurers need to be very careful. The following checklist helps narrow down the options:

  • Is the provider transparent with its operations? It is essential to know who and what you are dealing with: those large providers who make public filings make more attractive partners than smaller privately owned bureaus.
  • Is the provider a strategic player in this business?
  • Is running a bureau one of its core competences?
  • Has the provider got scale and international reach?
  • Are value added services offered?
  • Does the provider have key banking relationships?
  • Does the provider have the top level bureau certification from SWIFT?

Combination of SWIFT and payments expertise

SWIFT’s top bureau certification, ‘SWIFT Ready Connectivity Best Practice’, has been awarded to only one SWIFT service bureau in the UK, Bottomline, and only 14 others around the world.