Swift tests instant pay and settlement with European banks

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Seven European banks are testing Swift's Global Payments Innovation real-time cross-border payments through the continent's Target Instant Payment Settlement process.

Payments messaging standards provider Swift and the European Central Bank want to extend the reach of instant cross-border payments deeper into the European market, citing GPI and TIPS as a combination that would deliver instant payment and crediting of accounts.

The banks are Banque Internationale Luxembourg, BBVA, Deutsche Bank, Natixis, Santander, Sberbank and UniCredit. Swift views cross-border processing as a key aspect of moving GPI into a ubiquitous process for banks.

"This trial is another critical step in extending the reach and utility of our cross-border instant payments service," Alain Raes, chief executive in the Middle East and Asia Pacific at Swift, said in a Tuesday release. "By linking Swift GPI and TIPS, our customers will be able to leverage their existing investments to deliver a superior service to clients."

Since its launch in 2017, Swift GPI has focused on the transformation of cross-border payments and has built it to the point where 40% of Swift GPI payments are credited to end beneficiaries within five minutes.

GPI was built on the premise that participating banks would firm up messaging and communications standards and follow those procedures while also adding needed technology to legacy systems in the same manner and timeframe.

The European Central Bank is keenly interested in making sure its TIPS platform can advance along with other faster payments services.

"The support of the ECB to this initiative is in line with our strategic objective of ensuring that our Target Services keep pace with the evolving needs and requests of banks in the payments landscape," said Mehdi Manaa, deputy director general for market infrastructures and payments at the European Central Bank, in the release. "By facilitating with GPI, the TIPS service proves its flexibility to cater for additional use cases."

Swift reports it completed a successful testing program in Australia last year when GPI was integrated into Australia's New Payments Platform through banks in Australia, China, Singapore and Thailand.

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