Who Needs Blockchain? SWIFT’s gpi Pushes Back with Faster Payments

SWIFT continues to see a surge in both gpi adoption rates and number of transactions.

The race for cross-border payments has heated up, with SWIFT making strides to quicken its overall processing times. The efforts help SWIFT compete with Ripple and other payment venues, many of which have cut into SWIFT’s usage by harnessing blockchain technology.

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SWIFT has been working to improve its gpi payment times, while also opening up new corridors to different markets and regions. Presently, over 50 percent of SWIFT’s gpi payments are credited in less than 30 minutes, however the group is looking to improve in light of growing competition in the payments space.

While SWIFT gpi payments are sent across a total of 220 country corridors, its latest efforts have seen cross-border payment times reduced to minutes, and in some cases seconds. More specifically, this includes over $100 billion in SWIFT gpi messages sent every day. In terms of processing, nearly 100 percent of payments are also credited to end beneficiaries within 24 hours.

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“Thanks to SWIFT gpi, banks are able to credit payments within minutes and even seconds, while their customers are facing shorter supply cycles and able to ship goods faster. This is a very significant step forward for banks and for their customers,” explained Harry Newman, Head of Banking, SWIFT.

SWIFT still adheres to a framework that sometimes requires slightly lengthier intervals for crediting – this includes more complex FX conversions, compliance checks, and regulatory authorizations. This framework differs from other payments services and networks on the blockchain, many of which are fully anonymous, and therefore instantaneous.

On SWIFT’s part, its gpi has been adopted by more than 150 financial institutions around the world, reflecting nearly 10 percent of SWIFT’s cross-border payments traffic. This includes major country corridors such as USA and China, where gpi payments currently account for more than 25 percent of the payment traffic.

According to Mr. Newman: “We have seen a surge in both gpi adoption rates and number of transactions, and we expect adoption of SWIFT gpi to now grow very significantly. Instead of focussing on a limited number of bilateral routes which has limited value both for banks and their customers, gpi already offers very extensive coverage across banks, markets and geographies. By adding new banks and corridors every day, SWIFT gpi ensures banks and their customers get a truly global, fast, secure, and transparent cross-border payments service.”

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