OREANDA-NEWS. Alfa-Bank, a Russian leading banking institution announced today that it has started to use SWIFT’s global payments innovation (gpi), a suite of services that increases the speed, transparency and traceability of cross-border payments. Having gone live on SWIFT gpi on 18 December 2017 Alfa-Bank is able to start providing this unique payment information service to its customers from January 2018 onwards.

Since January 2017 over 125 transaction banks have signed up to the service, with more than 35 actively using SWIFT gpi to exchange over 100,000 gpi payments per day. To date, more than five (5) million gpi payments have been sent over SWIFT, providing a better experience to corporate treasurers and other clients.

SWIFT gpi empowers Alfa-Bank to relieve major pain points for its vostro respondents, corporate treasurer and individual clients such as the lack of transparency in cross-border payments. Using the innovative cloud-based gpi Tracker, Alfa-Bank can track a payment’s status in real time, as well as review information about each bank in its path and any fees that have been deducted, giving clients an unprecedented level of visibility into each payment. The Tracker ensures that both counterparties receive confirmation in real-time when the supplier or beneficiary is credited. SWIFT gpi also promises same day use of funds, delivering speed, certainty and predictability to its clients.

Mariya Shevchenko, Chief Operating Officer at Alfa-Bank says, «We are excited to be at the forefront of payments innovation together with SWIFT and look forward to providing higher levels of efficiency and transparency to our corporate treasury customers. For instance, the gpi Tracker not only allows us to follow a payment’s journey in real time, but it also alerts us when a payment has been credited. In turn, this ensures that our customers have positive confirmation that their suppliers and counterparties have been paid in full, helping avoid any payment disputes.»

SWIFT is also working on the next phase of gpi, which will include additional digital services allowing to further transform the cross-border payment experience, such as stop and recall payment, transfer of rich payment data and payment assistant to provide more intelligence at payment origination.

In parallel, SWIFT is exploring the potential use of blockchain technology in cross-border payments process. Over 30 gpi-banks have been running a Proof of Concept (PoC) to test if SWIFT-developed application distributed ledger technology (DLT) can be used to reconcile Nostro accounts in real-time and help to optimise global liquidity. PoC results from will be published in January 2018.

Matthieu De Heering, Head of Central and Eastern Europe, SWIFT said: «Now that Alfa- Bank is live on SWIFT gpi, the bank will be able to offer its customers more certainty, transparency and traceability in their cross-border payments. It has been a pleasure working with the AO „Alfa-Bank“ team — who I also congratulate on the speed of their development and testing! — on this exciting project. We look forward to seeing more Russian banks go live on SWIFT gpi in the months to come and encourage all banks in the entire Central and Eastern Europe region to adopt this new standard for cross-border payments.»