Sibos 2018: Swift gpi – how global payments are going digital
Thierry Chilosi, head of gpi customer success team, explains how Swift is reacting to this year’s “Going Digital” Sibos theme.
How can we interpret drivers for “Going Digital” within the payments industry?
I think there are two key drivers within payments – the customer experience, which demands a digital experience and the technology that enables that to happen.
Customers live in a hyper connected world and they want better experiences around all elements of that. This translates into the financial world, too, and the financial industry needs to become more real time, transparent and efficient in its dealing with customers.
Technology, meanwhile, delivers the ability to meet customer expectations. APIs are one key enabler. They deliver to us the means to assemble processes into an ecosystem and expose that to customers over a real-time and easy-to-use interface. It’s all about making something previously complex both easy and cost efficient. AI and data, meanwhile, allow for access to knowledge via richer data. This means we can see customer behaviour as well as our own processes and find where the gaps are in meeting the demand of the customer with our processes – our processes can be made smarter.
How does your real-time cross-border proof of concept, using Swift gpi, fit into all this?
Swift gpi is the new standard in global payments. The service is already live with coverage of 700 corridors and daily volumes of one million transactions. The proof-of-concept relates to reusing this same new digital payment rail to connect with domestic real-time payment systems. We’ve trialled in it China, Singapore, Thailand and Australia and it confirms that banks can now send and receive funds in seconds and securely across domestic systems.
One of the things we have also found with our system is that it allows not just for the cross-border payment itself but also for its tracking within the domestic system. In trials, we linked the two within 18 seconds. Previously, this process could take a day or so under the old “fire and forget” system where the payment would be made but there was hardly any tracking to know if it had arrived.
What are the next steps with this?
We are now looking for universal adoption. We already have 280 financial institutions on board and in about four weeks’ time every single payment within our system will have a tracking number. That will then be consolidated next year with a function enabling the receiver to post to indicate that a payment has arrived – at this point, we consider universal adoption to have been made.
We’re also aiming to provide value added services. This is not just about providing connectivity, it also includes things like pre-validating a payment so that the sender knows in advance both when and how much is coming.
What are the hurdles to be overcome?
One of the biggest hurdles is that everything seems to be happening at once. So, we need to make sure that we can help people adopt new things at their own pace. We need to be modular and allow for well-timed onboarding that suits the customer. We also want to see a new digital experience exposed to the end-customers. This is already being done in China where mobile use is already very high. It’s all about creating a unique and high value user experience and understanding that the payment is part of the overall transaction. Without ease of payment, the whole transaction might fail.
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