SWIFT Successfully Tests Instant X-Border Payments


SWIFT announced Sunday (October 21) successful test results of its new instant cross-border payments proof of concept, involving banks in China, Singapore, Thailand and Australia.

In a press release, SWIFT said the trial showed that by enabling gpi in real-time domestic systems, payments can happen near instantly, even when they involve domestic settlement and non-gpi banks.  “These results demonstrate two important prerequisites necessary to realize an instant cross-border payment service. First, we are able to extend the window for processing cross-border payments outside traditional business hours,” said Eddie Haddad, managing director of SWIFT, Asia Pacific, in the press release. “Second, by enabling cross-border SWIFT gpi payments via gpi members, through domestic real-time payment systems, we are able to achieve faster cross-border payments amongst a larger number of institutions. The linkage was achieved by participant banks like National Australia Bank processing incoming SWIFT gpi payments onward as NPP instant payments.”

According to SWIFT, since going live in 2017, it said 50 percent of gpi payments are now being credited to end-beneficiary accounts within 30 minutes — and many within seconds. The fastest payment made directly between gpi banks in these corridors was initiated from a gpi bank in Singapore and credited to a bank account at an Australian gpi bank within nine seconds. In effect, this is already a live real-time cross-border payment, SWIFT said in the press release. With the advent of real-time payments systems, which typically operate 24/7, there is an opportunity to remove frictions and ensure that many of these payments can be credited in seconds rather than hours. SWIFT noted the trial confirmed that the SWIFT gpi “payments in seconds” experience can be extended via domestic real-time payment systems to all NPP-enabled bank accounts.

“NAB is proud to have taken a lead role in the recent SWIFT instant processing proof of concept for cross-border payments into NPP. We have demonstrated the ability for customers to have access to funds within seconds and dramatic decreases in end-to-end processing times,” said Paul Franklin, general manager of payments at National Australia Bank Limited, in the same press release. “It has given us an opportunity to show that our 24/7 clearing capability through NPP can be used to process international payments to other banks outside traditional RTGS business hours, which offers the potential for much later cut-off times, which is especially useful for payments originated in Asian time-zones. The success of this pilot has come from the combined effort of the participating banks, and from a mutual desire to deliver a better payment experience for customers.”