Please 'Confirm' your action - SWIFT gpi Universal Payment Confirmations

First introduced in 2017, SWIFT gpi has grown rapidly. With over 3900 members and transferred nearly USD77 trillion cross-border payments in 2019. That’s almost double the $40 trillion that moved through the service in 2018. 

As part of SR 2020, providing Universal Payment Confirmations will be mandatory from 22Nov2020. 

Certain functionalities of SWIFTgpi are available to all institutions irrespective of the volume of payments they handle, Universal Confirmation enables even the smallest financial institution in the ecosystem to stay informed on the status of their payments. 


Why? 

Without confirmation, the flow of money around the world becomes complicated. Businesses depend on knowing that payment has arrived as an integral part of their supply chain. Without this step, trade can grind to a halt, and goods and services end up delayed.

What?

By the end of 2020, SWIFT will extend the benefits of tracking and confirming payments to every financial institution. As part of this, every single customer payment (MT 103 on FIN) will require a confirmation that the funds have been credited to the end beneficiary account.

For all MT 103 payments received, banks need to send a confirmation to the Tracker on the payment status: 

- Confirm when funds are made available to the beneficiary’s account (include amount, currency, and date/time of credit). 

- Reject if banks can’t process the payment. 

- On Hold* if banks can’t process the payment immediately. 

- Transferred* if the bank has transferred the payment to the next agent outside of FIN.

How? 

To ensure maximum participation, SWIFT has opened channels to support confirmations.

> Basic Tracker - This is a free and basic version to support even the non-gpi banks who can confirm manually. 

> Automated MT199 confirmations - gpi members confirm payments by sending an interbank payment message (MT 199) to a dedicated gpi Tracker BIC through their existing SWIFT interface. This message then triggers an update to the Tracker and provides payment confirmation to the ordering bank. 

> Confirm via API calls - Using API calls to confirm payments is a fast and efficient way to update the gpi Tracker. 

> ISO20022 - Migration to the standard will also deliver an ISO20022 compliant message to ease the burden on banks. 

> Batch Confirmations - To further ease the process, SWIFT will pilot a CSV format in early 2020. Banks just need to assess that payment systems support the format, can as well test it using MyStandards Readiness Portal. 

As per the rule book, members receiving an MT103 instruction message are mandated to provide confirmation on the outcome of customer payment to the SWIFT gpi Tracker within a maximum of two business days following the value date (though the same business day is the recommended practice). 

The confirmation must provide the originator bank identification code, amount, currency, and date/time of either the credit to the beneficiary account or the rejection, at a minimum. 

Beyond operational cost reductions, efficiencies stemming from the decreased effort in investigations, One key opportunity for banks with Universal confirmations will be the ability to develop new solutions for customers to self serve, which has the dual advantages of increasing customer satisfaction and reducing the cost of answering customer queries. Replacing channels such as phone, email, or speech with an AI-equipped Chatbot is a doable option. 

We at Nth Exception collaborate with Banks and Financial Institutions to analyze, solutionize, and optimize cross border payments processes. To complement our services and product we have partnered with companies in the payments space to deliver best in class payment solutions delivered by our partners.

Excerpts from swift.com