05 April 2016
Reporter: Stephanie Palmer

Global banks collaborate on payment innovation

SWIFT has launched its global payments innovation initiative, with 51 banks collaborating to improve the speed, transparency and predictability of cross-border payments.

Participating banks will create a new service level agreement (SLA) rulebook for smart collaboration.

The first phase of the initiative will focus on business-to-business payments, helping corporates to improve relationships with suppliers and to grow their international business.

Better payments services will include same-day use of funds, better transparency and predictability of fees, end-to-end payment tracking and easier transfer of information.

Wim Raymaekers, SWIFT’s global head of the banking market and project lead for the initiative, said: “The tight-knit group of leading banks will help to spearhead the testing through the pilot and beyond. Their commitment is testament to the initiative and our joint ambition to significantly improve the cross-border payments experience for corporate customers.”

“As we progress, we aim to incorporate additional innovations and deploy new technologies to this global payments innovation initiative, and define additional service level agreements that will cater for other client groups, further reducing the costs and frictions arising from compliance, liquidity and processing efficiency considerations involved in cross-border payments.”

Magnus Carlsson, treasury and payments manager at the Association for Financial Professionals, called the initiative a “smart way to address some major pain points”.

He said: “Through the global payments innovation initiative, banks can use existing technology to quickly bring visible improvements to B2B payments for their corporate customers. From a corporate perspective this kind of development in the payments space is very encouraging, as it means no significant changes need to be made to internal systems in order to potentially reap the benefits of the program.”

The pilot scheme of the initiative will run through to December, and the first set of results are due to be shared at the Sibos conference in September. The service is intended to go live in 2017.

Participating banks include the likes of BNY Mellon, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, the Bank of China, Standard Chartered, and more.

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