SWIFT’s ambitious plan for account to account connection


Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO of FXcompared and has 18 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors. Daniel is widely… Read more
  • Global banking co-operative SWIFT announced last month that it would expand its platform
  • “SWIFT will enable instant and frictionless payments from account-to-account anywhere in the world”, the announcement read
  • The announcement has now been analysed by the online money transfer press – with some suggesting it is a major change of direction in the face of VISA and MasterCard competition

This week, professionals in the cross border payments sector have been discussing the finer details of an announcement from SWIFT.

The co-operative organisation, which is owned by the banks, is now seeing an announcement it made last month picked up again by the online money transfer press.

In the announcement, which came out in mid-March, SWIFT said that one of its strategic priorities would now be to become the world’s leading account to account payment connector.

“SWIFT will enable instant and frictionless payments from account-to-account anywhere in the world, with an end-to-end solution that combines international and domestic capabilities”, the announcement read.

“This ambitious platform expansion means SWIFT will support financial institutions to strengthen their positions in B2B payments and capture new volume in SME and consumer segments.”

This week, a blog posted on the website Finextra analysed this announcement – describing it as a “huge change of direction for SWIFT”.

The move appears to challenge the position of VISA and Mastercard, two of the main competitors to SWIFT when it comes to account to account connection.

VISA and Mastercard are not owned by banks, although SWIFT is.

The blog post from Finextra emphasised the fact that VISA and MasterCard have taken steps to enhance their position in the payments world, including making a number of acquisitions.

“Over the last 12 months, both VISA and Mastercard have made huge acquisitions in the payments market, from payment players already in the ACH and account to account market, to fraud and AML, as well as core systems and niche software development players, all in the drive to extend their reach from card holder to account holder”, it explained.

This is not the first time in recent weeks that SWIFT has been in the news for a change of direction, however.

It also revealed last month that it would delay the migration date for its ISO 20022 plans.

The new ISO looks set to enhance data-focused payments infrastructure, although it will now not be put into place until the end of 2022.

The decision was not related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Acting on feedback from the community, SWIFT will enable ISO 20022 messages for cross-border payments and cash reporting businesses starting from the end of 2022, which extends the originally announced date by one year”, SWIFT said at the time.

“This modifies timings announced to the community in September 2018 in view of the new strategic direction”, it added.

To learn more about what’s going on in all aspects of the online money transfer world, including with SWIFT and other organisations, check out our magazine page.

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