Swift works toward real-time payments service in Asia-Pacific region

Swift, a global member-owned cooperative and provider of secure financial messaging services, has joined forces with a group of Swift-affiliated banks from Australia, China, Singapore and Thailand to develop a unique cross-border real-time payments service in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a press release.

Swift said it has held exploratory talks with banks from the Asia-Pacific region about the development of an Asia Pacific cross-border real-time payments system based on a program called global payments innovation.

Swift and the participating banks determined that such a service would have significant benefits that would extend beyond the global payments innovation banks and their customers, deep into the domestic markets, eventually affording a complete real-time cross border payments experience for all bank customers in the region, according to the release.

The group agreed the service should be rolled out in three distinct phases:

  • Phase 1 will see the introduction of a new real-time global payments innovation sub-scheme, to facilitate real-time cross-border payments between global payments innovation banks in the region. Building on the significant success of Swift global payments innovation payments, which already significantly reduce cross-border payment times to minutes, will ensure real-time settlement of cross-border payments between signatory global payments innovation banks in the region.
  • Phase 2 will effectively extend the Swift global payments innovation rails into existing real-time payment systems within each recipient country, thus ensuring that "inwards and onwards" payments can be settled in real-time in each of the four markets, irrespective of whether the final beneficiaries hold accounts at banks that are connected to Swift or that are using global payments innovation. 
  • A third phase would look to link domestic real-time payment systems via Swift global payments innovation to facilitate full cross-border real-time payments between their respective customers. This aims to enable both sending and receiving account holders to benefit from a full real-time payments experience — again independently of whether they hold accounts at banks that are connected to Swift or using global payments innovation.

"With the widespread adoption of domestic real-time payments systems in the region, a cross-border real-time service is both a natural extension for the Swift global payments innovation in Asia Pacific and a real game-changer for bank customers," Eddie Haddad, managing director of Swift Asia Pacific, said in the release.

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