Swift GPI reaches $40T milestone on its second anniversary

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If competitors continue to seek ways to one-up the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications messaging system for cross-border transactions, there is mounting evidence — and numbers — that many banks are comfortable with Swift's modern processes.

On the two-year anniversary of Swift's global payments innovation initiative (GPI), the organization says it has hit a $40 trillion milestone in transaction value across the network in 2018.

For Brussels-based Swift, the rapid adoption of GPI, which essentially gets all banks on the same process for tracking and handling payments, demonstrates its value in the payments world as compared to newer options such as blockchain.

Even JPMorgan Chase, in the wake of revealing this month that it had developed its own JPM Coin cryptocurrency for faster and cheaper cross-border transactions, has acknowledged its significant use of the GPI software and processes.

"Swift GPI delivered on the promise of greater payment transparency and predictability, highlighting how banks and industry collaboration can quickly deliver innovation," Emma Loftus, head of global payments for JPMorgan's treasury services, said in a Thursday press release.

"With 76 percent of our payments now being executed via GPI we are experiencing direct benefits in our ability to respond to client inquiries," Loftus added. "Processes that have taken days are being now completed within seconds."

Cross-border messages using GPI increased by 270 percent in 2018 over the previous year, Swift said in the release. More than 3,500 banks, accounting for 85 percent of Swift's total payments traffic, have committed to GPI.

Swift has been quick to add to the core GPI service, rolling out an integrated and interactive API-based system for real-time dynamic bank-to-bank interaction. The integration improves predictability and efficiency of international payments, and it will soon be complemented by a post-payment investigation and reconciliation service.

Swift is also launching a gateway to enable e-commerce and trading platforms to directly plug into Swift GPI. It would connect multiple trading platforms to GPI members, allowing payment initiation, tracking, payer authentication and credit confirmation.

"Having passed the all-important tipping point with more than 50 percent of cross-border payments going via GPI, we can now move quickly to realize our ambition of ensuring ubiquitous, real-time, and even instant, payments around the world," Swift CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt said in the release.

By incorporating APIs, testing distributed ledger technology and exploring predictive analytics, Swift will continue to deliver new functions and applications, Leibbrandt said.

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