Taking the next step towards faster cross-border payments, banks from both sides of the Atlantic are preparing to exchange payments across TCH’s and EBA CLEARING’s real-time payment systems.
SWIFT and The Clearing House (TCH) has announced that they plan to launch a pilot service for immediate cross-border (IXB) payments with the support of banks from both sides of the Atlantic. The pilot service is scheduled to begin by the end of this year with several participants joining the service in a phased approach. It is being designed with the contribution of 24 financial institutions, including those that are preparing to join the pilot.
(A non-exhaustive list of financial institutions engaged in the development of the IXB service is included at the end of this press release.)
The development of this pilot marks another important step in the IXB initiative launched by the three private-sector, member-owned companies to improve cross-border payments by utilising the fastest domestic payment options. It follows a proof of concept completed in October 2021, with the contribution of seven financial institutions. The proof of concept demonstrated the ability to synchronise settlement in one instant payment system with settlement in the other and to convert real-time messages between both systems.
Since October 2021, the group of supporting financial institutions has continued to grow and has formed an IXB Sounding Board to provide input on the development of this cross-border payment service leveraging existing real-time infrastructure, technology and standards. Based on state-of-the-art building blocks, such as ISO 20022 message standards, SWIFT Go and the instant payment systems of EBA CLEARING and TCH, the service initially will support instant payments in the U.S. dollar and euro currency corridor. It is developed with a view to being extended to other currency channels and payment systems.
“The RT1 and RTP® networks are perfectly positioned to deliver a better cross-border experience with a very short time to market,” said Russ Waterhouse, Executive Vice President for Product Development and Strategy at The Clearing House. ”The trans-Atlantic pilot service will provide valuable input for the development of a fully-fledged IXB service to meet customer expectations across the globe.”
“We are pleased that the IXB development benefits from the expert input of 24 banks from 10 countries,” said Erwin Kulk, Head of Service Development and Management at EBA CLEARING. “Aside from delivering a simple and transparent service for end users, our key aim is to keep things easy for financial institutions: the fact that there is no need to connect to a separate payment system should make the service very attractive for RT1 and RTP participants of all sizes.”
“The interlinking of instant payment systems promises a new way of moving money across borders safely, quickly, and at low cost,” said David Watson, Chief Strategy Officer at SWIFT. “SWIFT’s enhanced platform and transaction management capabilities create a flexible and efficient way to interlink multiple instant payment schemes, while enabling banks to re-use their existing investment, and we look forward to supporting the development of the IXB pilot service.”
“In cross-border payments, our customers are demanding faster execution, more transparency in fees and traceability end-to-end,” said Raouf Soussi Laghmich, Head of Strategy for Enterprise Payments at BBVA. “For BBVA, IXB is the right collaborative solution to respond to customers’ needs.”
“We are excited to work with our industry peers to lead the charge in launching cross-border real-time payments across the globe, starting with the U.S. and E.U.” said Carl Slabicki, Co-Head of Global Payments at BNY Mellon. “This effort is another crucial milestone – leveraging proven and scalable infrastructure – to deliver instant, safe, and secure payments 24/7/365 for our international clients.”
“Intesa Sanpaolo, always a front-runner in innovation, is proud to be part of the IXB pilot phase after having successfully contributed to the Proof of Concept in September 2021 with EBA CLEARING, SWIFT and The Clearing House,” said Stefano Favale, Global Head of Global Transaction Banking at Intesa Sanpaolo Bank. “Intesa Sanpaolo looks at the IXB initiative as one of the most innovative solutions that truly meets the speed requirements in the cross-border payment field.”
“We are eager to progress the Immediate Cross-Border (IXB) service from Proof of Concept to something beneficial for our clients,” said Cyrus Bhathawalla, Global Head of Real Time Payments at J.P. Morgan. “With our global footprint and experience with instant payments and FX, we provide a consistent faster payment experience – end-to-end and across regions.”
“The domestic payment ecosystems have been shaped by numerous flourishing instant payment systems over the last decade and we will continue to advocate their international decompartmentalization and enhanced interoperability,” said Jean-François Mazure, Head of Cash Clearing Services at Societe Generale. “From a user experience perspective, we believe that the IXB initiative represents a significant step towards a faster trans-Atlantic payment corridor, removing frictions and bringing value to all our customers, both individuals and corporates.”
“At Wells Fargo, we are focused on our customers first and committed to enabling simplicity, speed, and security to the businesses and customers we serve globally. Through this transformative solution, we see the possibilities of enabling faster, more frictionless cross border payments, and providing a better end-to-end customer experience. Wells Fargo will continue to be a leader in this work and we are excited to engage and grow the IXB initiative,” said Ulrike Guigui, Executive VP and Head of Enterprise Payments for Wells Fargo.
It is envisaged that the IXB pilot service will be followed by a full service offering in 2023. The key features of the service will be aligned with the focus areas related to speed, access, cost and transparency, as outlined by the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) and Financial Stability Board (FSB) for enhancing cross-border payments.
By providing a model that can be replicated across other currency corridors and payment systems, the IXB initiative is expected to provide even greater opportunities for financial institutions and their customers around the globe.