By André Casterman, Chief Marketing Officer at INTIX – the data management fintech
As the cross-border payment space is witnessing a flurry of new entrants, one value proposition stands out for all transaction banks: to track all types of cross-border payments across the ever-expanding set of cross-border messaging, clearing and settlement networks.
As McKinsey pointed out in an October 2018 article: “Today, the global cross-border payment landscape is at the center of a number of trends that could fundamentally change competitive dynamics: increasing pressure from emerging technologies (including distributed ledger technology and card and network innovations); shifting regulatory and sanctions frameworks; accelerating international commerce (retail as well as corporate); and, especially, changing customer demands. In addition, firms new to the cross-border market are increasing competitive pressure on incumbents.”.
The global consultancy company concluded: “Alternative solutions and new competitors are upending the industry’s fundamentals.”
Fact is cross-border payments was once a space dominated by a single network provider known as SWIFT which succeeded to automate the electronic transmission of financial instructions, and, in particular, cross-border payments handled through correspondent banking relationships. Correspondent banking has been the de facto standard for clearing cross-border payments for decades, building on national clearing and settlement systems. In order to protect its franchise, SWIFT recently upgraded its standards and market practices with SWIFTgpi and this has led to shortened payment execution and increased transparency of the end-to-end processing chain.
However, over recent years, alternative messaging, clearing and settlement channels have emerged primarily focused on lowering the processing costs of cross-border retail and wholesale payments. Examples include Earthport (a global payments network) and EBICS (a secure Internet messaging protocol). Next to alternative networking options, new payment instruments such as real-time payments have been rolled out in dozens of countries, as well as in the pan-European market (SEPA). Those innovations have demonstrated that cross-border payments are being re-invented for good, and that clients are welcoming those following rapid adoption of domestic schemes.
Given the superior experience that real-time payments offer, this payment instrument is now expected to expand rapidly at cross-border level too. Some new entrants are betting big on the “distributed ledger technology” (DLT) and on the blockchain to accelerate execution of cross-border remittance and business-to-business payments whilst drastically reducing processing costs. Examples of blockchain-based cross-border payment networks include Ripple and IBM Blockchain World Wire.
Major card payment technology providers such as Visa and Mastercard are also entering the field. Worth noting is the recent acquisition of Earthport by Visa in 2019. Visa also launched Visa B2b Connect later in 2019 targeting high-value corporate cross-border payments globally thereby “making payments quicker and simpler, while enhancing transparency and consistency of data”.
Major banks such as JPMorgan are also rolling out new cross-border payment rails with the blockchain-based Interbank Information Network (IIN). This multi-bank initiative aims to “minimize friction in the cross-border payments process to enable payments to reach beneficiaries faster and with fewer steps”. The IIN has already attracted 300+ banks across the globe.
Considering the intense competition between traditional payment networks, as well as the emerging competition amongst recently established blockchain-based players, one can expect financial institutions to have ample choice and to gradually adopt those new options in order to improve service and experience to their clients. This, however, will certainly raise the level of complexity for banks’ internal payments operations and IT teams as each network proposition comes with its own technical infrastructure, security and formatting requirements.
Thai Siam Commercial Bank completes cross-border transfer using Ripple technology in just 1 minute. FXStreet
IBM signs 6 banks to issue stablecoins and use Stellar’s XLM cryptocurrency. Coindesk
Deutsche Bank joins JPMorgan-led blockchain network Financial Times
As the number of network propositions expands, financial institutions will need holistic visibility on and tracking of all cross-border payments across networks – this is where INTIX will help as a network-agnostic transaction data technology supporting both traditional and emerging payments channels. This is depicted below:
The main benefit of the INTIX data technology is to handle the archiving, measurement, reporting, retrieval, tracking and alerting of all types of payment flows in a way that is independent from the underlying messaging, clearing and settlement processes.
We make your transaction data accessible and actionable in real time. INTIX
This is how INTIX will continue to help financial institutions in the cross-border payments space as industry fundamentals get upended. The INTIX technology is agnostic to the underlying communication technology whether message-, API- or blockchain-based.
Contact us at email@example.com for more information.