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SWIFT gpi service for corporates goes LIVE - now need to scale up

SWIFT today announced the further enhancement of its gpi service with the full go-live of SWIFT gpi for corporates, a capability designed and built-in conjunction with banks and corporates which enables multi-banked corporates to initiate and track payments across multiple banks directly from their treasury and payment systems. More than 50 of the world’s largest companies – including LVMH, Microsoft and Petronas – have already signed up to the service. (See CTMfile’s July 2018 WEBchat on Swift gpi.)

Successful pilot

The go-live follows a successful pilot with 22 corporates and banks – including Airbus,, General Electric, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Citi, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered Bank – that collaborated to scope the project, define the standard and business practices, and test the functionality within their treasury systems.

While corporates are already able to check the status of gpi payments through each of their individual banking partners’ portals, SWIFT gpi for corporates addresses the needs of multi- banked corporates, affording them a single centralised and standardised view across all their banking partners. The service allows corporates to track all their payments in real-time, facilitating more accurate reconciliation, and preventing costly and time-consuming investigations.

SWIFT gpi for corporates allows banks to give users visibility, transparency and control of their entire payment flows and provides them with full transparency over fees and FX so that they can identify the most efficient ways to send their payments around the world. Furthermore, it relieves corporates of the need to adapt their systems for each individual bank they work with.

In developing the service, SWIFT worked with banks and corporates as well as with leading treasury software providers including, Bellin, FIS, Kyriba and SAP, all of which have integrated SWIFT gpi for corporates into their applications.

Participant reactions

Two of the corporates in the pilot commented:

  • Olivier Valanchauskas, Head of Airbus Treasury Platforms, said: “An increasing number of banks are offering gpi tracking through their individual portals which works well for companies that only work with one bank, but not so much for a multinational business dealing with multiple banks. SWIFT gpi for corporates solves this by creating a centralised view of multi-bank information, enabling us to track our payments all in one place.”
  • Peter Kim, Senior Manager, Treasury Technology at Google, said: "It is great to see the recent success and adoption of gpi by financial institutions. However, prior to gpi for corporates, SCORE members were required to implement gpi directly with each bank, which limited the value of having direct SWIFT connectivity. Thanks to the launch of gpi for corporates, we will now be able to directly leverage our SWIFT infrastructure to receive the full benefits of gpi. We look forward to getting started!"

While a supplier said:

  • “Improving our clients’ ability to enable and track cross-border payments continues to be a key focus of FIS’ corporate treasury offerings,” said Martin Boyd, head of Capital Markets at FIS. “We’re excited to continue our work with SWIFT to create innovative products that are cost-effective and improve efficiency and transparency.”

Deutsche Bank’s Christof Hofmann, Global Head of Payments and Collections, believes that “The general availability of the SWIFT gpi for corporates service marks another significant achievement for SWIFT gpi. This will be a game-changer in the transparency corporates have for their cross-border payments. This has happened in close collaboration with major treasury software providers.”

Future developments

While everybody is enthusiastic to fully develop the service, they all recognise the work required to bring the plan to fruition. Marc Delbaere, Head of Corporates and Trade at SWIFT, said: “gpi for corporates is the result of the ground-breaking collaboration between corporates and banks to revolutionise cross-border payments for corporates. It creates a rule book which standardises and centralises their multi-bank information, providing unrivalled visibility, as well as saving them time and money. Over 50 corporates and banks, including nine of the ten top cash management banks, have already signed up, and we expect this number to grow significantly in the coming months.”

Banks are adding to their basic gpi services, e.g. Deutsche Bank’s Christof Hofmann, explained that “Deutsche Bank is already supporting gpi for corporates regardless whether the Corporate is sending its payments via SWIFT messages (MT101) or XML (pain.001). This means that we can offer SWIFT gpi for corporates as well to clients without a direct SWIFT connectivity (e.g. using Host to Host). We are quickly expanding our regional coverage for gpi for corporates and will add additional services to complement the offering. This includes, for example, enabling the tracking for incoming payments before they are credited to the account.”

Corporates are no longer wondering whether they want Swift gpi, they now want it ASAP, but are finding that:

  1. they need to adjust their internal systems to be able to take the tracking number and relate them back to the payment, i.e. need to be able to create gpi compliant payment instructions with a UETR (unique identifier) and are able to consume and process the incoming status updates
  2. they need to check with each bank what is the actual state of their Swift gpi service and what parts of the world are covered, e.g. Deutsche Bank is now going to offer this service as well to the clients which were not directly involved in the pilot 
  3. in some banks and places where the payment checker would be most useful, gpi is not yet available.

CTMfile take: The Swift gpi is a major initiative, and is changing how multi-banked corporates do/will manage their payments worldwide. Everyone is to be congratulated, but much remains to be done.

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