SWIFT partners global banks for Immediate Cross Border payments initiative

As SIBOS 2021 opens today, SWIFT has announced it has joined forces with EBA CLEARING and The Clearing House (TCH) and 11 global banks to design a cross-border payments initiative that aims to be as seamless as the fastest domestic payments options.

The three private-sector, member-owned companies have completed a proof of concept as part of a new initiative, Immediate Cross-Border Payments (IXB), that demonstrates the ability to synchronize settlement in one instant payment system with settlement in the other and convert real-time messages between both systems.

The IXB initiative has had 11 banks contribute to the design, with seven banks – Bank of America, BBVA Group, Citi, HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank, J.P. Morgan and PNC Bank – participating in the proof of concept, where the banks successfully exchanged payment and confirmation of receipt messages.

The concept could be expanded to additional currencies and is also replicable for more liquidity-efficient high-value payments.

The initiative responds to the rising expectations of consumers and businesses who have experienced the benefits of domestic real-time payments and now have similar expectations for cross-border transactions.

The IXB proof of concept shows that existing regional instant payment systems can be leveraged for cross-border payments and could provide financial institution participants with access to a solution for cross-border payments without the need to build and connect to a separate network.

SWIFT said that IXB uses ISO 20022 message standards, which allows for innovation and increased competition and its key features are fully aligned with the focus areas related to speed, access, cost and transparency, outlined by the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) and Financial Stability Board (FSB) for enhancing cross-border payments.

Russ Waterhouse, executive vice president for product development and strategy at The Clearing House, said: “By utilizing existing faster payments systems, financial institutions can leverage existing processes, protocols and technology to make the user experience seamless across payment types, whether domestic or cross border.”

“Citi is excited to participate in the execution of the IXB POC across the TCH and EBA CLEARING real-time payments infrastructure in collaboration with SWIFT,” said Melissa Tuozzolo, payments financial market infrastructures and industry head, with Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions.

“We believe this will help create a highly efficient and streamlined model for market infrastructure interlinkage which has the potential to provide end users with a vastly improved instant, 24/7, real-time cross border payments experience. We view this enhancement to the cross-border model as being key to accelerating economic progress and supporting banks, consumers, corporates and the continuously growing ecommerce flows across these economies.”

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