SWIFT Slashes Cross-Border Remittances To 13 Seconds In A Global Trial To Rival Ripple’s Speed

Interbank messaging giant Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) has announced it successfully transferred an instant cross-border payment in Asia within 13 seconds.

SWIFT has completed a global trial to integrate SWIFT gpi Instant, its cross-border instant payments service, into Singapore’s domestic instant payment service, known as FAST (Fast And Secure Transfers).

In a statement released by the company, SWIFT gpi Instant reuses existing cross-border and domestic payments infrastructure, minimising implementation costs for users and allowing them to avoid the complexities of adopting new cross-border infrastructure.

According to the release, the trial which involved 17 banks across seven countries – Australia, China, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Singapore and Thailand – recorded that while all payments were processed end-to-end within 25 seconds, the fastest payment recorded from Asia into Singapore was 13 seconds, 15 seconds from Europe, and 20 seconds from North America.

Participants in the trial with Singapore’s FAST included DBS, HSBC, OCBC, Standard Chartered; Australia’s big four banks ANZ, CBA, NAB, Westpac; Thailand’s Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank, Siam Commercial Bank; China’s BOC, ICBC; and Canada’s RBS and Luxembourg’s BIL. In a statement the company explained:

“The final leg of cross-border payments often introduces delays due to domestic clearance and settlement. However, gpi Instant capitalises on the 24×7 availability of instant payment systems such as FAST, to enable payment settlement in the destination market, even outside normal business hours.”

The completion of the global trial with FAST follows a 2018 test with a group of banks and Australia’s domestic instant payment service – known as the NPP (New Payments Platform) – which saw payments from China to Australia taking just 18 seconds.

The company explained that its next trial will involve Europe’s TIPS (TARGET Instant Payments Settlement). The company explained:

“Together, the TIPS, FAST and NPP instant payment systems are the first of many domestic real-time infrastructures, connected via the banks and using gpi that will enable a globally-scalable instant cross-border payments service.”

GPI Instant To Be Launched End Of The Year

The company said that numerous tests are on the pipeline in different markets with other instant payment systems before the official planned worldwide launch of the gpi instant at the end of the year.

SWIFT pi was started in January 2017, to enhance cross-border payments through increasing speed, transparency and end-to-end tracking. Approximately USD 300 billion in cross-border payments are currently sent each day through the standard.

Last week, SWIFT also announced the introduction of the gpi service for corporates, whereby multi-jurisdictional firms are able to initiate and track payments across multiple banks directly from their treasury and payment systems.

The go-live follows a successful pilot with 22 corporates and banks, including Airbus, Booking.com, General Electric, BAML, BNP Paribas, Citi, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered, among others.

SWIFT is facing an intense competition from Ripple and just last week, the Bank of America filed for a patent for a settlement system based on Ripple ledger.

According to Ripple CTO David Schwartz, Ripple-based systems that are in intense competition with SWIFT, remain the fastest as they can typically complete a transaction in 5 to 7 seconds.

Is SWIFT catching up on Ripple-based transfer systems? Let us know your views in the comments section.

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