Per an announcement, SWIFT said that through 2018, it facilitated an average of 31 million messages daily — which, on an annual basis, was up 11 percent from 2017, and represents a 56 percent increase through the past five years. Annual traffic at the most recent reading was a record 7.8 billion messages. Peak traffic, as measured on a single day, was 35.2 million, as of May 31.
SWIFT said that growth came in tandem with uptake in SWIFT gpi, now tied to 55 percent of cross-border transactions. SWIFT’s gpi service is supported by hundreds of banks, and is used to send more than $300 billion in payments every day. SWIFT has, in recent months, claimed a 99.9 percent availability for its FIN and 99.9 percent availability for SWIFTNet messaging services.
The SWIFT news comes as competition for cross-border payments remains in place.
Ripple partner Mercury FX said, as reported in Oracle Times, that it processed its biggest payment to date across RippleNet — through a transaction that was done with XRP. The site said the transaction was valued at about $4,550, and was moved cross-border from the United Kingdom to Mexico. The firm also said that the transaction, for Mustard Foods, saved 31 hours and $100. As reported in this space and elsewhere, Ripple said in recent months that a number of financial firms have been signing on to its offerings for cross-border payments.
In one example, as reported earlier this month, Ripple said there are now more than 200 customers signed on to RippleNet. “In 2018, nearly 100 financial institutions joined RippleNet, and we’re now signing two — sometimes three — new customers per week,” said Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, at the time. “We also saw a 350 percent increase last year in customers sending live payments, and we’re beginning to see more customers flip the switch and leverage XRP for on-demand liquidity.”
Separately, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is looking for public comments on “the authorization of new retail payment systems,” with a nod to the fact that the payments infrastructure has grown in a way where that technology, and platforms, are dominated by a few players, even though several systems are on offer. Among the dominant players: UPI, IMPS and others. “This has given rise to certain questions, which range largely around concerns of concentration, need for competition, and the resultant impact on economic efficiency and financial stability,” the bank said.
Beyond India, South Korea stands ready to debut a financial regulatory sandbox in April, as reported by FinTech Futures and others. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) is looking to foster a global mindset for financial services innovation, and has allocated $3.5 million in support of the FinTech and global efforts, in part with an eye on easing regulations governing the industry.
In South Africa, First National Bank (FNB) said it has now enabled sole-proprietor businesses to conduct payments using a QR code via FNB’s banking app. As reported by the company, the offering is powered by Mastercard’s Masterpass, which IOL said is interoperable with most major scan-to-pay options across 140,000 merchants and billers.
Raj Makanjee, chief executive of FNB Retail, said, “We are rapidly expanding our digital payments ecosystem by providing customers with helpful digital payments solutions. The ability to make QR code payments offers our customers convenient and secure alternatives to carrying cash.”