SWIFT introduced its gpi (global payments innovation) initiative in November 2017 as a way of enhancing cross-border payments processing. Gpi ensures that customer credit transfers are processed faster, with greater transparency regarding fees, and with full end-to-end tracking. More than 160 banks now belong to the SWIFT gpi CUG (Closed User Group) and follow the gpi rulebook.
Gpi payment messages must be handled in real time and processed immediately. The final instructed bank in the chain must make funds available to the creditor with same-day value.
Gpi is underpinned by the provision of two new fields in the message header of the relevant MT format messages (such as the MT103 Customer Credit Transfer). These are the Unique End-to-end Transaction Reference (UETR) and the Service Type field.
However, much of the detailed functionality is provided via the Tracker, a service that allows users to monitor the payment from start to finish, even if several correspondent banks are involved in a chain. As each bank initiates or handles a gpi payment, it sends a confirmation message to the Tracker, using either a structured narrative message (MT199, 196, 192 or 299) or an API call. The Tracker’s browser-based GUI is then used by gpi participants to monitor payment flows.
Transformer and SWIFT gpi
At Trace Financial we have developed a specific Transformer SWIFT gpi library which is able to produce correctly structured gpi confirmations. The mapping converts a number of separate data values into the single combined narrative field (or vice versa).
Further gpi enhancements are scheduled for the November 2018 standards release, to support cover payments (MT202) and to allow ‘Stop and Recall’ messages to be sent to the Tracker. The Transformer gpi library has already been updated in readiness for this.