A dozen global transaction banks are now using the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication's new global payments initiative service to improve cross-border payment delivery.

After more than a year of planning, Swift made the service available last month with a focus on business-to-business cross-border payments.

ABN Amro, Bank of China, BBVA, Citi, Danske Bank, DBS Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ING Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Nordea Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and UniCredit are all actively using the service.

BBVA is one of a dozen banks now using Swift's new global payments initiative service IMAGE: Bloomberg News

Swift says it expects several more banks to begin in the coming months.

Development of the global payments innovation service focused on ensuring banks were using the same communication tools and technology to speed up cross-border payments and assure accuracy, reliability and security. In that sense, the service operates through business rules captured in multilateral service-level agreements among participating banks operating on Swift's global network.

The new GPI Tracker feature allows banks to provide corporate treasurers with a real-time, end-to-end view on the status of their payments, including confirmations when payments have been credited to beneficiaries' accounts. Treasurers can now be certain that remittance information, such as invoice references, are transferred unaltered to the beneficiary, Swift says.

“Customers require more certainty, transparency and traceability in their cross-border payments," Wim Raymaekers, head of Swift GPI, said in a Feb. 16 press release. "The Swift GPI is delivering this today. And with nearly 100 leading transaction banks already signed up, it is set to rapidly expand with more banks, new features and additional payment services.”

Swift plans to soon introduce the GPI Observer, a quality assurance tool that monitors participants' adherence to the service rules. Swift says it is already designing the next phase of the system, which will include adding digital services to the cross-border payment platform, including a "rich payment data service."

Swift's move to enhance cross-border payments coincides with its efforts to test blockchain distributed ledger technology for real-time Nostro account reconciliation.