Swift’s cross-border payments processing speed surpasses G20 target

  •  89% of cross-border payments are processed over Swift within an hour, placing its transaction speed ahead of the G20’s end-to-end target of 75% by 2027
  • Fast in-flight processing and greater transparency reflects strong focus on helping industry meet G20 targets with strategy focused on instant, frictionless end-to-end payments  
  • Latest data also highlights that the majority of international payments are direct or involve only one intermediary, and reveals issues industry must tackle to accelerate final delivery into payee accounts 

Singapore, 22 August 2023 – Swift today announced strong progress toward goals set by the G20 for enhancing cross-border payments, reporting that 89% of transactions processed on its network reach recipient banks within an hour. 

That’s already well ahead of speed targets set by the Financial Stability Board to achieve one-hour processing for 75% of international payments by 2027. The momentum underscores work by Swift, which connects more than 11,500 institutions in over 200 countries, to expedite delivery and enable banks to offer a better service to their end-customers. It also challenges misperceptions that payments are often required to travel through chains of intermediary banks to their final destination. Swift data shows that 84% of all payments on the network are conducted directly or with a single intermediary.    

While in-flight processing between originating and beneficiary banks has significantly accelerated, there is still more to be done at industry level to fully achieve the bar set by the G20. At present only 60% of wholesale payments reach customer accounts in that timeframe due to delays at the beneficiary leg caused by issues including regulatory controls, batch processing and opening hours of market infrastructures.   

Thierry Chilosi, Chief Strategy Officer at Swift, said: “Our strategy to transform cross border payments is delivering tangible results. Swift already exceeds the G20 target on speed for processing on our own network, and we are well on track towards meeting the other targets. The G20 roadmap to enhance international payments recognises the critical role these transactions play in the growth of the global economy – and how necessary industry-wide collaboration is to achieving tangible improvements. Swift will continue to work closely with the financial community to meet these targets and foster a more inclusive global economy built upon the seamless movement of value across the world.”

In addition to helping the financial services industry meet the G20’s target for speed through services like Payment Pre-validation and Swift GPI. Swift continues to support industry efforts to address other challenges identified by the G20:

  • Transparency: Swift GPI has transformed cross-border payment transparency with the end-to-end visibility it offers on transactions. Swift Go, a fast, predictable and competitively priced cross-border payments solution, is bringing the same benefit to small businesses and consumers. Meanwhile, Swift Securities View is enabling end-to-end tracking of securities transactions, preventing the costly challenge of settlement fails.
  • Cost: Swift is removing friction-related costs to the industry through data, interoperability and screening services, as well as through Payment Pre-validation, which removes millions of costs to the industry around failed transactions while improving the cross-border experience.
  • Choice and access: Swift is opening up new ways to access its capabilities with cloud and API-based connectivity options, both for messaging and full transaction services powered by Swift’s new transaction manager.

As new payment means and models to connect to instant payment systems emerge, securing interoperability between domestic or network-based ‘digital islands’ is becoming more important. To help its community meet the G20 targets, Swift will continue to focus on addressing fragmentation head-on, whether by collaborating with central banks to develop an interlinking solution for CBDCs, or by working with market infrastructures to enhance settlement models.

About SWIFT

Swift is a global member owned cooperative and the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services. We provide our community with a platform for messaging and standards for communicating, and we offer products and services to facilitate access and integration, identification, analysis and regulatory compliance.

Our messaging platform, products and services connect more than 11,500 banking and securities organisations, market infrastructures and corporate customers in more than 200 countries and territories. While Swift does not hold funds or manage accounts on behalf of customers, we enable our global community of users to communicate securely, exchanging standardised financial messages in a reliable way, thereby supporting global and local financial flows, as well as trade and commerce all around the world.

As their trusted provider, we relentlessly pursue operational excellence; we support our community in addressing cyber threats; and we continually seek ways to lower costs, reduce risks and eliminate operational inefficiencies. Our products and services support our community’s access and integration, business intelligence, reference data and financial crime compliance needs. Swift also brings the financial community together – at global, regional and local levels – to shape market practice, define standards and debate issues of mutual interest or concern.

Headquartered in Belgium, Swift’s international governance and oversight reinforces the neutral, global character of its cooperative structure. Swift’s global office network ensures an active presence in all the major financial centres.

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