18th May 2018

What is SWIFT gpi? – GPI Fridays Episode 1

GPI Fridays episode 1 features James Higgins, Product Director at AccessPay.

SWIFT gpi payments account for nearly 25% of SWIFT’s cross-border payments traffic. But what exactly is SWIFT gpi?



Good afternoon. My name’s James. I’m from AccessPay. About eight months or so ago, then AccessPay entered and won Swift’s GPI Industry Challenge. An event out in Singapore where fintechs from across the globe were asked to come along and present their ideas and solutions for how they would propose to use GPI information for the benefit of the corporate treasurer.

And since the Industry Challenge win that we had, then we’ve been asked by a number of our customers and a number of our corporate contacts, what is Swift GPI? So we’ve decided to launch this series of quick videos to explain what GPI is and some of the benefits to various elements of the payment chain. And we’re going to call it GPI Friday.

So the first GPI Friday that we’re going to talk about is what is GPI? Well, GPI stands for Global Payments Innovation Initiative, and in short, GPI is the biggest change in cross-border payments for a generation. It’s got a number of core components to it, and I’ll chat through each of them just briefly now.

But really three main parts to GPI right now that are probably of interest to the corporate user, and indeed the banking user of cross-border payments.

Firstly, a tracker. So if you order a pizza today, then you can go online and you can find out exactly where that pizza is in terms of where it’s up to in the production or the delivery process. If you send a parcel by FedEx or UPS, then you can go online and track exactly where it is in terms of what stage up until the delivery. Well, up until now, previous to now, then you couldn’t do that when you sent a cross-border payment of millions of pounds, millions of dollars.

However, under Swift’s Global Payments Innovation Initiative, you can because there’s this thing called the Swift GPI tracker. And what it does, it tracks your payments right from the remitter all the way to the beneficiary. And it shows all the different intermediary banks in the chain, and it’ll give you an immediate status, transparent status on where that payment is. It’ll also tell you at every chain in the payment chain how much fees have been lifted off the principal amount, what effect rates have been applied on a cross-border payment, how long it was taken to process that payment, and that runs all the way across the payment chain until it gets to the beneficiary. So clearly huge benefits there in terms of visibility to all users of cross-border payments.

Secondly, there’s this concept of the directory. And in the directory, then you can go in and you can look on a bank by bank basis at what currencies they process for example, what cut-off times they process those currencies, what paths those currencies are going to go through. And so, you can use that directory to actually plot a path for a cross-border payment with far greater and richer data to enhance that sort of decision-making process.

Finally, the observer. So what the observer does is there’s a whole set of SLA’s and rules around GPI and the observer is free for everyone to look into and look at adherence to that, those SLA’s and rules that the banks are providing. So things like, are they processing payments same day upon receipt? Are they providing the transparency? Are they passing through the end-to-end tracking number, this UETR or unique end-to-end tracking reference? Are they passing through the remittance data? That rich data that the remitter wants to see passed all the way through the payment chain. Are the banks actually sending it all the way through?

So three core components, but I think in summary, what GPI is to the ultimate users is a provider of speed on cross-border payments. It provides end-to-time transparency. It provides detailed information on fees and charges, and it provides the ability to receive a credit confirmation when the payment is received by the beneficiary.

That’s what GPI is. We’re going to be doing more of these sessions to explain how you can use it, and what the benefits are. So more to come in our series of GPI Friday.