At the end of 2012, it will become mandatory under SEPA to use IBANs and BICs to identify the parties to payments transactions. Corporates still using old-style account numbers in their payments messages must have migrated to the new codes by that time.
This means that in very short order corporates need to validate the IBANs and BICs of their customers and suppliers (some may have millions of these), and build a repository of financial institution information in their CRM/ERP systems. On an ongoing basis, they will then need to maintain this data – validating the account information of new customers as they come on board, and applying any changes that arise to existing IBANs and BICs.
SWIFT’s BICPlusIBAN Directory packaged for corporate use can help. This tool enables corporates to validate the bank code in any IBAN, validate the existence of a BIC, validate the SEPA-specific correspondence between a BIC and an IBAN or find the SEPA-specific BIC if missing, and build a list of financial institutions in a CRM/ERP system.
The downloadable software, the BIC Enquiry Tool, which comes free with the directory, enables corporates to validate the IBAN checksum, structure and correspondence to the BIC in an interactive way.
The version of the directory aimed at corporates is priced to reflect their specific usage – that is, to meet their need to validate IBANs and BICs at configuration time only (rather than for each individual payment transaction, as a bank would do). Typically corporate users will only require the SEPA data within the directory, about a third of the total information it comprises.
Patrik Neutjens, head of reference data at SWIFT, says: “As we build out our reference data solutions, we are identifying more and more opportunities to support our corporate customers in this area. The tailored pricing of our BICPlusIBAN Directory to meet the specific requirements of corporates under SEPA is the first in a series of initiatives in which SWIFT will provide reference data solutions targeted to address the pain points of corporates as they seek to improve the operational efficiency of their payments processes.”