B2B Payments

Instant Payments Gain Ground With SEPA, SWIFT

Instant Payments Gain Ground With SEPA, SWIFT

The payment messaging entity SWIFT this past week began implementing its SWIFTNet Instant service that is tied to the Eurosystem’s TARGET Instant Payment Settlement service. Implementation began last Friday, Nov. 30.

The service, as has been reported, lets customers make instant payments from inside the Single Euro Payments Area (also known as SEPA). The messaging firm has said that connecting to TIPS is part of broadening access to the upcoming Eurosystem Single Market Infrastructure Gateway. Amid the launch, SWIFT Chief Executive Alain Raes said that “we are delighted to confirm the successful go-live of our connectivity solution for instant payments on TIPS.”

“This marks another milestone in our longstanding partnership with the Eurosystem and we are proud to be supporting the first customers making instant payments on TIPS,” Raes said. “Our solution is designed to meet the current and future messaging needs of our customers, and we look forward to working with them as they embark on the path toward the Eurosystem Single Market Infrastructure Gateway.”

Amid future plans for the aforementioned gateway, as reported in this space, there will be the consolidation of TARGET2 and Target2-Securities (T2S) in 2021.

Drilling down a bit from pan-European efforts in payments infrastructure to more granular ones, in the U.K., a Bank of England consultation about the embrace of messaging standards – specifically, ISO 20022 – has garnered support of a Common Credit Message (CCM) that looks for harmonization of messaging across interbank payment efforts.

As has been widely reported, ISO 20022 is known for carrying richer data in payments messages. The consultation in the U.K. had lasted six weeks and got responses from more than 70 banks, trade associations and FinTechs, among other stakeholders.

Elsewhere, in reference to the embrace of faster payments in Australia, last week the Central Bank Governor Philip Lowe announced that there are more than 400,000 transactions tied to the country’s New Payments Platform, and that two million PayIDs have been registered. The governor said last week that there will be more growth on the horizon as banks bring new services to market.

In Singapore, cross-border payments firm TranSwap said that it has launched a platform that is geared toward helping SMEs streamline payment processes and make payments to more than 45 countries. Users can integrate with the TranSwap API to automate multiple transfers. The company also said that competitive FX rates would be captured through its online transaction portal, and that it is part of the Singapore government trade initiative known as NTP.

Finally, as noted in this space early into the week, the European Payments Council provided an update at the year mark of the SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) scheme, which officially debuted on Nov. 21 of 2017. Javier Santamaria, chair of the EPC, said in an interview that the number of payments services providers (PSPs) has more than tripled, and the number of countries that have signed up has more than doubled. Santamaria told Karen Webster that to date, more than 2,000 PSPs from 16 countries were on board, up from a respective tally of 600 PSPs and eight countries. This represents over 49 percent of European PSPs, said the executive.

He told Webster in the interview for the weekly Monday conversation that the transition to instant payments has been smoothed somewhat by the fact that the scheme is based on international open standards.

Data formats rely on ISO 20022, as the EPC has stated in the past. The instant payments system launched last year by EBA Clearing (known as RT1) has logged several million transactions, while PSPs and banks are free to use any tech providers/infrastructure that they want. The overarching theme, though, is one of interoperability, Santamaria noted during the interview.

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