First Indian Banks Join SWIFT Payments Intiative

ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, two Indian banks, have something in common as of Monday (July 25), they are both the first Indian lenders to sign up for SWIFT’s global payments innovation initiative.

The initiative, which already includes more than 70 other global banks, is aimed at enhancing cross-border payments by using SWIFT’s messaging platform.

“By being the first banks in India to join the global payments innovation initiative, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank reiterate their commitment to offering greater speed, transparency and predictability to their clients when it comes to cross-border payments,” says Kiran Shetty, Head of India and Subcontinent at SWIFT.

With the initiative, banks will be able to improve the payment experience by offering same day use of funds, more transparency in fees, tracking from one end to the other and more payment information. The initial phase of the global initiative will be centered on business-to-business payments, with a focus on aiding companies’ international growth.

“ICICI Bank has always been at the forefront in introducing technology in the banking segment. We are constantly looking at ways to add value to our corporate clients,” says Ajay Gupta, senior general manager at ICICI Bank in a statement. “The global payments innovation initiative is one such initiative where we believe that our clients will immensely benefit with same day credit, increased visibility and certainty of charges. This will enhance the payments product in the correspondent banking portfolio thereby enhancing our value proposition to corporate clients.”

Aiming to transform correspondent banking, SWIFT is working with the industry to set new standards in cross-border payments and is welcoming additional banks to join the initiative. Earlier this year, SWIFT announced the initiative amid a market facing pressure from alternative FinTech disruptors. At the time, 45 banks had agreed to participate in the pilot, a number that SWIFT said represented about 70 percent of cross-border B2B payments that travel through banks across the globe.