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SWIFT Signs on 73 Banks to Participate in Cross-Border Payments Initiative

SWIFT, the financial messaging and payment company based in Belgium, is developing a global network for facilitating cross-border bank account based payments with 73 financial institutions already on board. Trials for B2B payments are already underway, including a portal for tracking when payments are confirmed and cleared. The participating banks account for 75 percent of cross-border payments on the SWIFT network.

Barclays, Bank of America, Bank of China, RBC, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are just a handful of the major banks onboard with SWIFT’s global payment initiative. It is said to provide an “ACH-like experience” on a global scale, and the main focus of the initiative is to stream-line and make faster cross-border payments. Although current trials are for B2B use, this payment initiative can make a huge impact on eCommerce, opening up more countries and consumers to cross-border eCommerce.

SWIFT first announced this global payment initiative at the end of 2015, but has since started a pilot program with about 20 participating banks, and most recently announced more global financial institutions had joined the initiative, now up to 73. The SWIFT global payment initiative seeks to offer same-day funding and transparent pricing (although fees have not yet been disclosed) for cross-border transactions, along with end-to-end payments tracking. SWIFT is also providing a platform for tracking payment status, for banks and senders, to see when they are confirmed by receiving banks.

Wim Raymaekers, Global Head of Banking Market at SWIFT, described how these features can enable banks to “give their customers precise information about their payments, in real-time, including confirmation of credit to the beneficiaries account.”

It is still in its early stages, but SWIFT’s global payment initiative could be a boon for eCommerce. Early results from the pilot will be discussed at a conference in September with full results widely available by early 2017. Considering the coverage of major global financial institutions already participating, could quickly become a major stream for cross-border interbank payments.

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