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SWIFT Looks to Fill “Payment Gap” Worth Billions of Euros, Caused by Poor Reference Data

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SWIFT, the financial messaging provider for more than 9,700 financial institutions and corporations in 209 countries, today announced the launch of SWIFTRef, a family of products that aims to eliminate costly payment errors arising from bad data, and increase straight-through-processing (STP).

Thirty percent of non-STP payments are caused by bad reference data, and with manual intervention to correct the details of the payment costing between 20 and 40 Euros per incident, this problem amounts to millions of Euros potentially lost each day. The costs to the financial services industry could be worth billions of Euros globally each year, according to many expert estimates.

Currently, customers buy similar products from multiple suppliers because of the gaps in the market and differing levels of quality. SWIFT’s new suite of products will give users a one-stop shop which allows them to identify their payment counterparties with confidence, thanks to modernised directories offering comprehensive and quality data contained in flexible relational databases. This data will be available much faster via the cloud and web services technology. This will save financial institutions and corporations time and money they spend on data sourcing, cleansing and reconciliation.

SWIFTRef will help the cooperative widen its addressable market for reference data. The products are aimed at the 3,500 or so banks which process a significant amount of international payments and the many corporations that also comprise this market. SWIFTRef products will be sold directly by SWIFT’s sales teams and also through partners via the indirect sales channel.

Patrik Neutjens, Head of Reference Data at SWIFT said: “The issue of poor reference data is only getting worse because of the sheer increase in global payments being made. This is why only an industry-driven initiative and contribution can help the financial community. Our research shows that financial institutions are working hard to increase back-office efficiency to reduce costs. This requires tailor-made, integrated data that’s constantly updated. That’s where SWIFT can help.”

SWIFT publishes a number of directories that are valuable for transaction processing and routing which include:

  • National clearing and sort codes
  • SSI
  • SEPA adherence and SEPA routing information, IBAN linkage
  • Cross-referencing with LEI  (when LEI becomes available)
  • Country information (ratings, cut-off times, hierarchies, etc.)
  • Payments systems information
  • Websites, contacts, switchboards
  • Broadcast messages (MT094)

For files and feeds, annual prices start at 4,000 Euros for one product or 22,000 for the comprehensive suite of databases; and rise according to payment traffic within a particular organisation. Annual prices for online use start at 1,000 Euros per user. The products will be available from January 2012.

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