The Clearing House and SWIFT move closer to instant payments in the US

US banks will have option to connect to The Clearing House’s real-time payments system via SWIFT gateway

A major evolution is underway in the US payment infrastructure. Many participants in the world’s largest financial market are keenly awaiting the development of a new clearing and settlement system from The Clearing House (TCH) to support domestic instant payments in the US.

Once complete, the service will allow consumers and businesses to send and receive payments in real-time, and directly from their accounts at financial institutions. It will also include data and non-payment messages that financial institutions can use to build digital commerce solutions.

As instant payments become more ubiquitous in the US, the world’s largest payment messaging system, SWIFT, announced it will provide US institutions with a gateway to The Clearing House’s real-time payments (RTP) platform.

SWIFT’s solution for the U.S. market will provide banks with the opportunity to leverage a single platform, Alliance Messaging Hub (AMH). This will provide an interface for managing the requirements of sending and receiving domestic instant payment transactions for both SWIFT high-value payments and low-value TCH real-time payments on behalf of customers.

AMH is an orchestration layer that includes a gateway to the TCH RTP network, as well as other gateways and API’s which allow financial institutions to connect to other non-SWIFT networks. Financial institutions can leverage AMH to support instant payments, simplifying adoption to our customers.

As reported by International Business Times, on the significance of the gateway, Ignacio Blanco, SWIFT’s director of strategic relationships said:

“SWIFT is working together with communities worldwide to support the global shift towards real-time payments, and we are pleased to be at the forefront as the U.S. market evolves. The Clearing House is making great strides in accelerating the speed of transactions, and we are committed to playing our part in helping the financial community to operate as efficiently as possible.”

Steve Ledford, SVP Product and Strategy at The Clearing House, also explained why TCH selected SWIFT as a partner:

“Given its reach and expertise in payments, SWIFT is a great collaborator as we bring a wide-scale real-time payments system to the U.S. market. Achieving our vision of broad adoption of real-time payments will only be possible when the majority of U.S. institutions are able to participate, and SWIFT will be instrumental in helping us meet this goal.”

The solution will be commercially available by early 2018. But as IBT notes, SWIFT’s global instant payments strategy is burgeoning, and the US announcement builds on SWIFT’s earlier success in Australia and in Europe.

In 2015, SWIFT was awarded the contract to deliver the messaging infrastructure to underpin Australia’s new payments platform, NPPA, which is expected to go live later in 2017.

Earlier this year, SWIFT announced the launch of an instant payments messaging solution, first for the European market, and elsewhere. It will allow instant payments to be made over the SWIFT network and provide customers with a single gateway to connect seamlessly to multiple instant payments systems.

It will offer connectivity to the Eurosystem’s TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) and will support the delivery of the future Eurosystem single gateway to TIPS, TARGET2 (T2) and TARGET2 for Securities (T2S) platforms.

With new technologies and start-up companies emerging in recent years and seeking to transform the wholesale and retail payment infrastructure, it seems one of the original pioneers is taking promising steps once again to re-design the global payment infrastructure once again.

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