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SWIFT launches industry challenge to develop overlay services that leverage its global payments innovation platform

SWIFT launches industry challenge to develop overlay services that leverage its global payments innovation platform

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is inviting FinTech companies from around the world to develop new overlay services that leverage its SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) platform. Headquartered in Belgium, SWIFT is a global member-owned cooperative, which is the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services.Majority of international interbank messages use the SWIFT network1.

SWIFT will provide funding of up to 200,000 EUR for the two winning FinTech finalists of an Industry Challenge, who will work with banks on collaborative innovation concepts that solve additional industry challenges in cross-border payments on top of SWIFT gpi.

SWIFT gpi was launched in January 2017 to address core problems related to speed, transparency and traceability of payments. The press release states that gpi has dramatically improved the cross-border payments experience for corporate treasurers in over 85 country corridors. SWIFT announced in May this year that 24 leading banks in Asia Pacific are live or planning to implement SWIFT gpi.

The first phase of SWIFT gpi, which is live now, enables faster, same day use of funds (within the time zone of the receiving gpi member) and unaltered transfer of remittance information, provides transparency of fees and end-to-end payments tracking. The second phase will allow banks to immediately stop a payment, no matter where it is in the correspondent banking chain, transfer rich payment data along with the payment, including additional line item details necessary for compliance checks and use an international payment assistant, to further increase the straight-through-processing rate of cross-border payments, at origination.

For its third phase, SWIFT gpi has started exploring the potential of using new technologies such as distributed ledger technology (DLT), through a Proof of Concept to reconcile banks’ nostro accounts in real-time (these are accounts that a bank holds in a foreign currency in another bank to to handle international financial transactions for their customers that ordinarily require foreign currency exchange; most large commercial banks worldwide hold nostro accounts in every country with a convertible currency).

Through this challenge SWIFT is hoping to solve incremental challenges faced by corporate treasurers. Services could potentially include enhanced invoice presentment and reconciliation to facilitate financial supply chains, exchange of supply chain documentation to improve global trade, exchange and interactive enquiry of account and processing conditions to improve end-to-end straight through processing, and providing additional party and transaction information to support compliance and sanctions screening of cross-border payments.

Wim Raymaekers, Head of Banking Market and SWIFT gpi Programme Manager at SWIFT said, “Rather than develop solutions in silo, companies – banks and SWIFT included, should open APIs to an ecosystem of partners. There are many companies out there with good ideas. SWIFT gpi is a great innovation in itself; with this industry challenge we want to foster additional collaborative innovation, drawing the best talents and thinking to our table.”

Five FinTech companies will be invited to a gpi Industry Challenge workshop in Singapore on 13-14 September 2017, where they will receive coaching from FinTech experts and be in direct contact with 30 gpi member banks. Two FinTech winners will be selected and receive up to 100,000 EUR each to further develop their concept over a three month period with banks and SWIFT, getting exposure to the financial industry, and be presented at Sibos in Toronto in October 2017. Featured image: / CC BY 2.0

1SWIFT’s messaging platform, products and services connect over 11,000 banking and securities organisations, market infrastructures and corporate customers in more than 200 countries and territories. SWIFT has long played an important role in standardisation, notably by creating and maintaining global financial messaging and reference data standards. SWIFT does not hold funds or manage accounts on behalf of customers. Rather it enables the secure exchange of standardised financial messages, which could be advice or instruction for payments.


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