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EBA Clearing, SWIFT and TCH trial instant cross-border payments

12th Oct 2021 by Graham Buck

EBA Clearing, SWIFT and The Clearing House (TCH) announced that they have completed a proof of concept under a joint initiative to make cross-border payments as seamless as the fastest domestic payment options.

Immediate Cross-Border Payments (IXB) demonstrates the ability to synchronise settlement in one instant payment system with settlement in the other and convert real-time messages between both systems. The IXB initiative also involves 11 banks as contributors to the design, of which seven – Bank of America, BBVA Group, Citi, HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank, J.P. Morgan and PNC Bank – participated in the proof of concept. The banks successfully exchanged payment and confirmation of receipt messages.

Rising expectations

SWIFT says the IXB initiative responds to the rising expectations of consumers and businesses who have experienced the benefits of domestic real-time payments and now have similar expectations for cross-border transactions. It adds the concept could be expanded to additional currencies and is also replicable for more liquidity-efficient high-value payments.

The IXB proof of concept shows that existing regional instant payment systems can be leveraged for cross-border payments, SWIFT adds. It also demonstrates that financial institution participants of all sizes could be provided with access to a solution for cross-border payments without the need to build and connect to a separate network.

By taking advantage of existing infrastructure, technology and standards, SWIFT says IXB can help to satisfy, in the near term, customer expectations worldwide for a simple and more transparent way to send cross-border payments.

Limitless applications

“By leveraging the RTP network in the United States and RT1 in Europe, along with ISO 20022 message formats, IXB demonstrates that a faster cross-border payments capability is possible and can be delivered using existing technology,” says Russ Waterhouse, TCH's executive vice president for product development and strategy.

Erwin Kulk, head of service development and management at EBA Clearing, adds: “IXB demonstrates how the current ecosystem of cross-border payments may be enhanced and made suitable for new high-volume 24/7 business. In combination with an international request to pay, its potential applications would be limitless.”

According to SWIFT's chief strategy officer, David Watson: “Linking market infrastructures and financial institutions is a fundamental pillar of our strategy to enable instant and frictionless transactions around the world, and one of the key building blocks in the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructure's (CPMI) global roadmap on enhancing cross-border payments.”

Having proved the concept, EBA Clearing, SWIFT and TCH plan to begin work on developing a working model that can be replicated across other currency corridors and payment systems.

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