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Industry roundup: 3 December

SWIFT enables instant 24/7 cross-border payments

SWIFT has announced the activation of the world’s first live gpi Instant connection, a service that enables businesses and consumers to send payments in seconds across borders, around the clock via their financial institutions.

Lloyds Banking Group is the first to go live with the service and the UK is the first market where it is available. Remittance payments from anywhere in the world destined for the UK routed through Lloyds can arrive in seconds with fee and foreign exchange transparency, robust security and full regulatory compliance.

The gpi Instant service works by connecting SWIFT gpi, the high-speed cross-border rails with real-time domestic infrastructure, in this case the UK’s Faster Payments. It enables banks to use existing infrastructure to provide better service 24/7, with faster speeds, clarity on fees and, crucially, predictability on when an end beneficiary’s account will be credited.

SWIFT says adoption is expected to continue globally as demand for an instant cross-border experience rises. The cooperative's gpi Instant is a building block in its new strategy to enable instant, frictionless payments from account-to-account anywhere in the world. 

The gpi Instant service is the culmination of several trials conducted by SWIFT with banks and payment infrastructures.The go-live follows a successful pilot that took place earlier this year and involved banks including Lloyds, Barclays, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, DBS, Wells Fargo and BBVA. It saw cross-border payments credited to accounts in the UK in seconds and built on the successful proof of concepts run by SWIFT and market infrastructures in Singapore, Australia and in Europe over the past two years.

In September 2020, SWIFT announced a new strategy to fundamentally transform payments and securities processing by retooling cross-border infrastructure to enable the world’s financial institutions to deliver instant and frictionless end-to-end transactions. At the heart of the new strategy is an enhanced platform which will orchestrate interactions between financial institutions and other participants to minimise friction, optimise speed and provide end-to-end transparency and predictability from one account to another anywhere in the world.


Cobase and Ebury partner on FX services

European fintechs Cobase and Ebury have announced a partnership that opens up Ebury’s FX services to the Cobase multi-banking platform. Cobase, a provider of cloud-based corporate multi-banking solutions, will offer its corporate treasury clients services from Ebury, a global fintech backed by Santander Bank that specialises in cross-border financial services and risk management.

The partnership follows the launch of Cobase’s new Liquidity Forecasting and FX Exposure Management modules, which enable corporate treasuries to optimise cash positions or automatically hedge their FX risk on a continuous basis. Adding Ebury’s services to Cobase’s platform should give clients broader access to more cost-effective FX services, and Cobase users will be able to receive FX quotes from Ebury and book FX trades without the need to access any other system.

Users will also be able to receive real-time status of transactions and reporting to automate the reconciliation process within Cobase, integrated with other Cobase Cash Management and Treasury Management modules.


EPC publishes first SEPA Request to Pay scheme rulebook

Following a three-month public consultation, and in collaboration with stakeholders from the entire payment value chain, the European Payments Council (EPC) has published the first version of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Request-To-Pay (RTP) scheme rulebook. 

The SRTP scheme covers the set of operating rules and technical elements (including messages) that allow a Payee to request the initiation of a payment from a Payer in a wide range of physical or online use cases. The scheme can be considered as a complement to the payment flow because it supports the end-to-end process and lies between an underlying commercial transaction and the payment itself. An RTP as such can be seen as an enabler for digital payments.

Some important dates related to the new scheme and its maintenance cycle include the following:

  • The effective date of the first release is set to 15 June 2021 and takes into account the need for an independent certification body - to be selected and become operational - for the certification of applicants to the SRTP scheme as described in the Trust and Security Framework Annex of the rulebook. The EPC is expected to launch a Request for Proposal for this purpose in February 2021.
  • The SRTP scheme adherence process is planned to be opened in the first week of May 2021 to allow applicants to prepare their adherence application ahead of the effective date of the SRTP scheme. 
  • The second version of the SRTP scheme rulebook which will support more elaborate functionalities is envisaged to be published by the end of November 2021. 
  • As a first preparatory step, the EPC has invited the market to submit its change requests in relation to the first release by 26 February 2021 close of business, as part of its structured and transparent change management process that is governed by the rulebook.
  • The implementation guidelines related to the first version of the SRTP scheme rulebook are scheduled to the be published by end-January 2021.

It should be noted that eligible entities from all countries in SEPA shall be allowed to participate on the basis that the level playing field principle between payment service providers (PSPs) and non-PSPs is respected.


Euler Hermes launches green trade insurance product 

Euler Hermes Transactional Cover Unit (TCU) has launched the Green2Green Single Risk credit insurance solution. The product is designed to contribute to tackling climate change by insuring green transactions and investing the related premium in certified green bonds. 

Euler Hermes says it has developed a strong in-house ESG expertise in recent years, and an approach to start the integration of environmental issues throughout its activities. The Group is now increasing these efforts with the Green2Green Single Risk insurance product’s approach in supporting TCU’s clients’ growing needs in the green finance sector.   

The solution focuses on providing insurance to green transactions, which will be eligible based on a bespoke environmental evaluation. The initial sectors in scope are: renewable energy, energy efficiency, recycling, water treatment, and mass public transportation. The Green2Green Single Risk solution is available to all TCU clients (being either corporates, banks, or multilaterals).

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