SWIFT Will Start Testing Instant gpi Payments in the Asia Pacific

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SWIFT announced that it will start testing its new instant cross-border SWIFT gpi payments service in the Asia Pacific region. The service has been designed to scale and integrate with real-time systems around the region through gpi members in each system. While other real-time systems will be added in due course, this initial trial will be focussed on payments going into Australia.

Today payments into Australia that are sent at the end of the day typically only settle the next day, however the new service will instead provide near-instant availability of funds — including after usual business hours. Domestic payment processing will be enabled through the New Payments Platform (NPP), Australia’s new real-time payments system, which went live earlier this year.


The trial follows workshops held earlier this year with leading banks from AustraliaChinaSingapore and Thailand* and uses a set of rules defined in consultation with the banks. Once live, the service will introduce significant benefits that extend beyond gpi banks and their customers — in time allowing for a complete real-time cross-border payments experience for all bank customers in the region, improving customer experience and allowing for faster P2P remittances and SME trade settlement.

Eddie Haddad, Managing Director at SWIFT, Asia Pacific, said: “SWIFT is uniquely positioned to ensure its customers can leverage their existing investments, standardise connectivity across multiple markets and to drive efficiencies in support of cross-border trade. The approach we have taken saves banks from having to invest in new cross-border infrastructure and instead builds on SWIFT gpi and its connectivity with domestic instant payment systems.

“The SWIFT gpi real-time service is a critical step in delivering cross-border instant payments. The commitment and support we have from Asia Pacific’sleading banks is a strong indication that they understand the immediate value of partnering with SWIFT to realise a fast, secure and seamless cross-border real-time payment service that scales globally. We are looking forward to showcasing test results from the service at Sibos in Sydney in October.”

Since its launch in January 2017, SWIFT gpi has been rapidly adopted, with more than 100 billion USD in SWIFT gpi messages already being sent every day. Half of SWIFT gpi payments are credited to end beneficiaries in less than 30 minutes, many in seconds, and almost 100% of gpi payments are credited within 24 hours.

Over 30% of all SWIFT customer payments are now sent on gpi and more than 200 financial insitutions have already signed up to the service. By the end of 2020, the entire SWIFT Community will have universally implemented the service — meaning that all 10,000 banks on SWIFT’s global network will be using gpi for cross-border payments.

* The banks participating in the cross-border real-time payments 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. 

Bank quotes for press use:

Mr. Mark Evans, Managing Director, Transaction Banking, ANZ:
“The progression of SWIFT gpi linking domestic real-time payment networks adds yet another layer of customer focussed, purpose driven outcomes that we are proud to be a part of. Ultimately, by removing the time barriers that limit our cross border payment world today, customers will be able to conveniently move their funds around the globe without the constraints of time zones.”

Mr. Pongbhoka Buddhi-Baedya, Vice President, Global Payment Services Department, Bangkok Bank:
“This new market infrastructural change bringing about the emergence of a faster payment service will drive greater opportunities for Bangkok Bank to establish new digital payment platforms across our correspondent banking network. It is an exciting time for us to be at the forefront of this evolution. We look forward to engaging with the SWIFT gpi instant cross-border payments service in a secure and authenticated manner to present the best possible choices for our clients. As a strategic partner to Thai corporates for their cross-border transactions in this digital era, this initiative will help deliver a greatly-improved client experience and offer faster and near real-time payments, same day use of funds, transparency, predictability of fees and end-to-end payments tracking.”

Mr. Sun Shangbin, Deputy General Manager, Clearing Department, Bank of China:
“Based on gpi and the domestic instant payments, SWIFT is now working closely with global banks to build instant cross-border payments service. The service will substantially enhance cross-border payments efficiency, providing high quality service experience for our customers. Bank of China is one of the initiating banks involved in the SWIFT gpi movement and we look forward to continuing our involvement with other banks to drive industry-wide payment efficiencies and enhanced as service levels. Across BOC’s global settlement network of overseas institutions all over the world, we will provide better cross-border payments service to our customers.”

Mr. Albert Naffah, General Manager, Business Customer Solutions Strategic Initiatives, Commonwealth Bank:
“As the first bank in Australia to implement a real-time, 24×7 core banking platform, and one of the first major Banks to go live on the NPP, providing faster, 24×7 cross-border payments for our customers is a logical extension. Participating in this proof-of-concept with SWIFT will help us to simplify payments for international commerce and create safe, fast, always-available, cross-border payments for our customers.”

Mr. Atul Bhuchar, Group Payments Head, Global Transaction Services, DBS:
“DBS continues to focus on shaping the future of payments. Interconnectivity between cross-border payments and the rapidly-increasing global footprint of instant domestic payments is a quantum leap in transforming a customer’s payments journey. By working together with SWIFT and participating banks in this initiative, we are taking a proactive step to help define the framework and rules for these payments. This will not only create a ‘wow’ experience for our customers but also drive efficiency across global supply chains.”

Mr. Peng Hua, Deputy General Manager, Operation Management Department, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China:
“The integration of existing SWIFT gpi infrastructure with instant payment systems becomes a boost to cross-border payment acceleration, which makes a great contribution to shortening cross-border payment time to minutes and seconds. ICBC will continue to expedite our R&D processing and put into use SWIFT gpi across all of our overseas branches as soon as possible.”

Mr. K. Silawat Santivisat, Executive Vice President, KASIKORNBANK:
“The keen competition amongst payment channels, competitive transaction fees and transaction speeds offered by new entrants, mean that a faster SWIFT gpi service is crucial to driving international payments. While real-time payment is common for domestic transfers, it is an innovation for international payments. Not only will the new SWIFT gpi instant cross-border payments service offer increased speed, it will also enable a clear breakdown of charges and end-to-end payment tracking.”

Mr. Paul Franklin, General Manager Payments, NAB:
“We are continually looking for opportunities to deliver better customer experiences, and are pleased to be taking a lead role in developing real-time cross border payments. NAB’s 24/7 real-time clearing capability through NPP will allow international payments to be processed outside usual business hours, and crucially will allow us to support later cut-off times for same day payments from many time-zones.”

Mr. Anurag Bajaj, Global Head of Correspondent Banking and Regional Head of TB Americas, Standard Chartered:
“We are happy to participate in the SWIFT gpi instant cross-border payments service and to co-create the set of rules with other participating banks. Real-time settlement of cross-border payments is a necessary and logical extension for SWIFT gpi. More so in the context of immediate payment market infrastructures that are SWIFT compatible. As a community, we have established improvements on the end-to-end payment SLAs via SWIFT gpi. Faster payments will go further in improving working capital management for our corporate clients along with a better banking experience all round.”

Ms. So Lay Hua, Managing Director, Head of Group Transaction Banking, Group Wholesale Bank, UOB:
“At UOB, we connect our clients to cross-border opportunities and provide them with simple, fast and convenient banking services. The development of real-time payment systems in the region has opened up new avenues to make the cross-border payments process seamless and faster for clients. SWIFT’s new instant cross-border payments service is an important industry initiative that will complement our efforts to provide clients more control of and insight into their transactions. Through the initiative, we will be able to help our clients, who are increasingly looking to expand into new markets, receive their funds in a timelier manner. It will also enable them to optimise their cash flow and working capital, as they will be able to utilise cross-border funds almost instantly.”