In 2019, SWIFT improved speeds to an average of 30 minutes for half of gpi payments with almost every transaction being completed in less than 24 hours. At the time, Ripple Labs dismissed that upgrade as “just a marginal improvement” on “very old architecture”.
SWIFT Go is the new product of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, also known as SWIFT.
The service enables businesses and consumers to send low-value cross-border payments anywhere in the world in seconds with full transparency and strong security.
Seven global banks, which collectively handle 33 million low-value cross-border payments per year, have already gone live with SWIFT Go, a key building block in the cooperative’s strategy to enable instant and frictionless cross-border transactions.
SWIFT is stepping up as countless payments startups have developed solutions that solve the most troublesome issues in cross-border payments, including firms emerging from blockchain space such as XRP-powered Ripple, ex-Ripple founder Jed McCaleb’s Stellar (XLM), and newly launched Algorand-powered Six Clovers.
SWIFT’s new product is designed for SMEs that wish to pay suppliers overseas and for consumers sending money to friends and family internationally.
Go uses tighter service level agreements between institutions and pre-validation of data to allow banks to provide their end customers a fast and predictable payments experience with upfront visibility on processing times and costs. SWIFT’s network connects more than 11,000 institutions and 4 billion accounts across 200 countries worldwide.
Stephen Gilderdale, Chief Product Officer, at SWIFT said: “SWIFT Go is a further step towards achieving our vision of enabling anybody, anywhere, to send money instantly and securely around the world.
“The new service is a direct response to the needs of small businesses and consumers for fast, easy, predictable, secure and competitively priced cross-border payments. 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.”
SWIFT Go tightens service levels between banks to increase speed. A single payment format increases straight-through processing, while services such as pre-validation remove frictions that cause delays.
The sender will know in advance information about the amount, time, fees, and FX rate of a payment, and both sender and receiver of can track the status in real-time.
Processing fees are agreed between financial institutions upfront so they can provide their customers with full transparency; increased straight-through processing further reduces processing costs. BBVA, Bank of New York Mellon, DNB, MYBank, Sberbank, Société Générale, and UniCredit, have all gone live with the solution.
Marjan Delatinne, who was Ripple’s head of global banking prior to moving to SETL earlier this year, said in 2019 that Ripple and Swift are not competitors, but “can be very complementary”.
This was said at the Blockchain Summit in London. Ms. Delatinne has previously worked for Swift for 10 years, most recently in charge of selling its global payments innovation (gpi) service before joining Ripple.
“We are two different things. We are not replacing Swift, as Swift has its own value,” she said, adding that banks could “take advantage of both”.
The gpi is Swift’s attempt to step up and provide faster settlement times and an ability to track payments. In 2019, Swift was averaging 30 minutes in ETA for half of gpi payments, with almost all within 24 hours. It was a great accomplishment at the time.
At the time, Ripple Labs dismissed that upgrade as “just a marginal improvement” on “very old architecture”. Ms. Delatine explained why Ripple and SWIFT are not competitors per se.
“Swift is improving dramatically the way that the payments happen today, but it’s still about the messaging. You still send a message to another party. I don’t call it settlement because this is not settlement. It’s around the fact that I can send a message in a faster way, and I can track it. This is an improvement from previously, where it could take days.”
SWIFT Go, however, seems to have reduced low-value cross-border payments to seconds with full transparency and strong security. This is quite a development for the firm which has been fighting to stay relevant.
Ripple, however, remains tied to the lawsuit with the SEC over an alleged sale of unregistered securities, which implies XRP is a security.
The deposition of ex-SEC Director of Corporation Finance, William Hinman, will go forward today. The lawsuit has seen a turn of events last week with a public statement from two of the five SEC Commissioners admitting to lack of clarity within the digital asset space.
With cross-border payments becoming highly competitive, Ripple has moved to diversify the use cases for the XRP Ledger. Most recently, it has announced it is venturing into asset tokenization. Tokenized assets have also been under the radar of the SEC as of lately.
“Make no mistake: It doesn’t matter whether it’s a stock token, a stable value token backed by securities, or any other virtual product that provides synthetic exposure to underlying securities”, said SEC Chair Gary Gensler.