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DBS launches online tracking for cross-border collections

DBS Bank says it is the first bank in Asia to launch real-time online tracking of cross-border collections for its corporate clients. Powered by SWIFT gpi, more than 240,000 DBS corporate and SME clients in Singapore and Hong Kong will be the first to benefit from real-time, online tracking of their cross-border payments and collections, for no additional fee.

Raof Latiff, group head of Digital for Institutional Banking at DBS Bank, said that the bank has accelerated its multi-year digital roadmap in just a few months to provide greater support to its corporate clients to ensure they emerge strong from these challenging times. 

“The importance of enabling real-time tracking of cross-border payments and collections amid the landscape we operate in today cannot be underplayed as it helps businesses improve their working capital management and fosters trust with overseas counterparties" Latiff said. "This in turn helps improve supply chain efficiencies and encourages economic growth, enabling countries to bounce back faster from the pandemic.” 

DBS’ market share of SWIFT cross-border payments across its core markets increased by 4% year-on-year. The bank puts this down to the relevance of its digital solutions in helping businesses facilitate cross-border transactions swiftly and cost-efficiently even amid global disruptions.

“Our ethos at SWIFT is simple," commented Eddie Haddad, managing director, Asia Pacific at SWIFT. "In keeping with our vision of minimising friction for the ecosystem, optimising speed and ensuring integrity in cross-border transactions, we remain focused on accelerating growth in international payments. Recent developments in technology and a shift in customer expectations have led to disruption in the world we operate in. So now, more than ever, there is a need for the financial services community to band together to help corporates navigate the complexities and challenges of today’s business landscape. With the new online inbound gpi capability, corporates will gain the real-time visibility needed to give them more control of their entire payment flows.” 

Helping corporates enhance working capital efficiencies 

Traditionally, the tracking of cross-border collections tends to be highly manual, whereby corporates often rely on a copy of SWIFT message from the remitter, which confirms their remittance instruction has been processed by their bank. For interim status-updates, corporates have to depend on their bank or the remitter (via the remitter’s bank) to find out the latest status of the transfer across multiple banks, a process which is tedious, costly and time-consuming.

With the DBS SWIFT gpi solution, all corporates need to do is to log into the bank’s online corporate banking portal, DBS IDEAL, to receive instant updates on where the incoming funds are in the cross-border payment chain.

In markets where regulations require additional information or supporting documents for cross-border transfers, corporates can use DBS DigiDocs to transmit information and supporting documents digitally and instantly. This end-to-end digital solution significantly reduces the need for paper-intensive processes. The bank says that this solution is currently available in China, India, Vietnam, and is expected to be launched in Indonesia and Taiwan over the next few months.

With real-time visibility to incoming cash flows, corporates are able to optimise their working capital management and utilise their cash more effectively. In addition, businesses can fulfil their commercial obligations quicker by releasing goods upon the receipt of payment from the overseas counterparty, optimising inventory and cash cycles and building more efficient supply chains. 

Makino Asia, a machine tool manufacturer, sees value in the SWIFT gpi solution in helping the firm optimise their working capital management. “Cash flow is the lifeblood of all businesses and having instant notifications on the status of incoming payments, in addition to outward payments, is important in helping us manage our cash in a manner that would unlock strategic value for our business,” said S Janarthana, deputy general manager of Makino Asia.

The relevance of the solution is also echoed by one of the world’s largest independent commodities trading houses, Gunvor Group. “Having the ability to access real-time status updates on all inward cross-border collections across our businesses in multiple geographies radically reduces the amount of time and manpower hours to reconcile incoming payments with invoices," said Cheryl Cheong, treasury manager, Asia-Pacific at Gunvor Group. "DBS has taken a transformative approach to digitalise its clients’ cash management experience and support treasury division’s goal towards improved working capital management.”

Likewise, for fashion e-commerce startup Zilingo, the Singapore-headquartered group shared that the solution is particularly beneficial to their business. “With real-time tracking capabilities, we have full visibility on the status of incoming payments giving us greater certainty, enabling us to ship our fashion and lifestyle products out to our customers even faster and pay our suppliers quicker, delivering a transformed experience to all our partners in our ecosystem,” said Venkata Narayana D, the startup's group finance director.

"With the convenience of being able to track our incoming funds instantly through DBS’ corporate banking portal, we have seen a significant decline in call volumes made by our operations team to track the latest status of transfers," commented Allen Wang, director of Operations of Maike Group (Triway International Limited/ Matrix Metal Resources), one of China’s largest corporations engaging in the trading of non-ferrous metals. "This allows our employees to focus on higher value tasks to unlock even greater value for our customers.”

Following the launch of this online cross-border collections solution in Singapore and Hong Kong, the bank says it plans to expand this offering to its other markets,  including China, India, Indonesia, Taiwan and Vietnam, in the coming months.

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