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Universal Confirmations: Get Ready for 2020

What are universal confirmations and why are they needed?

Fabien Depasse, SWIFT: As of November 2019, SWIFT will extend the benefits of tracking and confirming payments to all financial institutions on SWIFT. To that end, we’re launching a Basic Tracker, which will provide tracking and search capabilities to all financial institutions on SWIFT. By the end of 2020, every single payment (MT 103 on FIN) will also require a confirmation that the funds have been credited to the end beneficiary account within two business days. Without confirmations, the flow of money around the world becomes unclear when the funds are received or sent on to another scheme. Businesses depend on knowing that a 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. Confirmations enable banks to provide an excellent customer experience by offering transparency and certainty that the funds have reached their destination and are available to the beneficiary.

What do SWIFT customers need to do and by when?

Fabien: For all MT 103 payments received, banks and FIs need to send a confirmation to the SWIFT gpi Tracker indicating the payment status:

  • Accepted & Settlement completed – when funds are made available to the beneficiary’s account (include amount, currency and date/time of credit)
  • Reject – If you can’t process the payment accompanied with a reason code
  • Transferred – If you transferred the payment to a next agent outside of FIN
  • Settlement in Progress – Further processing and it is not possible to either transfer the payment or credit the beneficiary customer

Confirmations are required within a maximum of two business days following the value date indicated in the MT 103 for non-gpi members. However, banks and FIs are encouraged to provide a confirmation as soon as possible.

How can SWIFT members confirm payments?

Fabien: We have a number of user-friendly ways for SWIFT financial institutions to confirm payments. For SWIFT gpi members already have access to the full functionality of the gpi tracker, as well as access to the other value-added features of SWIFT gpi. For non-gpi members, the Basic Tracker will provide some tracking and search capabilities, as well as the ability to manually confirm payments. We also have a range of automated options in the pipeline, including options to confirm using MT 199 on FIN, API calls or batch confirmations.

How is ACI Worldwide supporting universal confirmations?

Craig Ramsey, ACI Worldwide: SWIFT reached out to ACI as one of their longest vendor partners to help them support SWIFT’s pilot program for universal confirmations. For ACI, this was an exciting opportunity to collaborate with SWIFT and increase our offering to the payments industry. ACI’s functionality is available at the end of October 2019 – a full 12 months before the mandate.

Why did ACI see launching universal confirmations for its customers for the SWIFT pilot as a priority?

Craig: ACI is a leader in payments and close partner with SWIFT, so ACI thrives on being at the cutting edge of key technologies and offering our customers the ability to take advantage of SWIFT’s pilot program. After all, whilst this is a SWIFT initiative, there is demand from across the payments industry for universal confirmations. ACI is proud to make this offering available to all our customers one year ahead of the deadline.

What benefits do ACI feel that universal confirmations will provide to payments industry?

Craig: Universal confirmations is vital for the tracking of credit transfers for those banks that are not gpi-enabled. Additionally, the whole industry is evolving with more advanced technology, increased competition from FinTechs, as well as regulatory pressure for greater transparency on cross-border payments as a whole.

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Zhenya has nearly two decades of marketing experience in the Financial Services sector and 10 years specific to payments covering the full ecosystem. During her four years working at ACI she has focused exclusively on Real-Time Payments, providing key thought leadership and demand generation. She is also the marketing lead for SWIFT gpi globally.