a person passing the bank teller a payment request

SWIFT is trialing an instant cross border payment system, which allows funds to be immediately available. Source: Shutterstock

Australia to trial a SWIFT-er cross border payments service

SWIFT, the organization providing messaging and standards frameworks to financial institutions, will start trialing its new real-time cross-border payments service in the Asia Pacific region, initially focusing on inbound payments to Australia.

With the new instant global payments innovation (gpi) service, banks can improve customer experience by providing faster P2P remittances and SME trade settlement.

The trial will initially include banks from Australia, China, Singapore, and Thailand, using the New Payments Platform (NPP). NPP is Australia’s new real-time payments system which went live earlier this year.

Although the trial is currently being run on NPP, the service is designed to scale and integrate with real-time systems around the region. According to a statement from SWIFT, other real-time systems will be added in due course.

SWIFT also said the new service will provide near-instant availability of funds, including after business hours. For reference, current payments into Australia that are sent at the end of the day are typically only settled the following day.

Earlier this year, SWIFT held consultation workshops with banks from participating countries, for defining a set of rules which are being implemented in the trial.

Banks participating in the trial are ANZ, Bangkok Bank, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Commonwealth Bank, DBS, ICBC, KASIKORNBANK, NAB, Siam Commercial Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and United Overseas Bank.

“The approach we have taken saves banks from having to invest in new cross-border infrastructure,” said Eddie Haddad, Managing Director at SWIFT, Asia Pacific. “Instead, it builds on SWIFT gpi and its connectivity with domestic instant payment systems.”

With the gpi real-time service, SWIFT aims to standardize connectivity across multiple markets and to drive efficiencies in support of cross-border trade.

“The commitment and support we have from Asia Pacific’s leading banks is a strong indication that they understand the immediate value of partnering with SWIFT to realize a fast, secure and seamless cross-border real-time payment service that scales globally,” Haddad added.

Today, more than 200 financial institutions have signed up to the SWIFT gpi network, with over 30 percent of all SWIFT customer payments now sent using the service.

Since its launch in January 2017, the financial messaging service provider has seen more than 100 billion USD in SWIFT gpi messages sent daily.

By the end of 2020, SWIFT expects to all 10,000 banks on its global network to have transitioned to gpi for cross-border payments.