Swift aims be more fintech-like with faster cross-border payments

The global bank consortium Swift this week launched a high-speed international payments service, giving banks a way to compete more directly with fintechs in the hot cross-border payments sector.

Swift Go is designed for businesses and consumers to send cross-border transactions under $10,000 at more competitive rates, Swift said in a Tuesday press release.

The new service uses Global Payments Innovation (gpi), the technology Swift developed in 2017 to speed large business-to-business transactions, according to the release from Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

Swift’s move aims to close a gap that’s opened in recent years as fintechs like Wise and Remitly push mobile-first solutions for sending funds quickly across borders.

One challenge is Swift’s traditional focus on big banks. That could impede adoption by small businesses and immigrants who are less likely to turn to large global financial institutions for low-value transactions.

Swift Go presents users with the foreign exchange rate and total transaction fees in advance, with the ability to track the payment as it advances, Swift said in the release.

The process is streamlined by straight-through processing, with fees decided between participating financial institutions, Swift noted in the release.

“Our new service will allow banks to compete effectively in one of the fastest growing segments of the payments market, delivering a seamless experience for their customers,” said Stephen Gilderdale, Swift’s chief product officer, in the release.

Seven banks in the Swift network have already gone live with Swift Go, including BBVA, Bank of New York Mellon, DNB, MYBank, Sberbank, Societe Generale and Unicredit, the release said. Other banks in Swift’s network will gain access to Swift Go in the coming months, Swift said in an emailed statement.

“It’s no secret that for many years consumers and small businesses have been running into varying pain points when transacting international payments, including opaque costs and lack of certainty on how quickly funds are delivered to the final beneficiary,” said Isabel Schmidt, Bank of New York Mellon’s head of direct clearing and asset account services products, in the release.

Swift connects more than 11,000 financial institutions and 4 billion accounts across 200 countries worldwide.

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