The results are in for Swift’s instant cross-border payment trial in Asia Pacific, with the payments messaging provider declaring it a “huge success”.

Announced in August, Swift had been trialling an improved version of its global payments innovation (gpi) service, focusing on payments into Australia. The fastest gpi payment on the trial was sent in China and reached Australia in 18 seconds.

Payments from Singapore and Thailand reached Australia within 30 seconds, while the overall results showed that all trial payments were sent within 60 seconds.

The experiment covered three country corridors: China to Australia, Singapore to Australia and Thailand to Australia. Nine banks sent payments to three Australian banks, both inside and outside business hours.

The success adds momentum to the gpi service, which is scheduled for a full rollout among Swift’s banking users by the end of 2020. Since it went live in 2017, it has significantly reduced the payment time on cross-border transactions.

The instant version uses the rails of Australia’s National Payments Platform, which was also built by Swift. In order to roll instant gpi out globally, Swift will rely on correspondent banking rails, which will be upgraded with additional features to support gpi.

It will be able to integrate with other real-time payment systems, with discussions now ongoing between Swift and regulators around the world to explore how payment corridors can be linked to gpi.

Speaking to GTR at Sibos in Sydney today, Swift’s head of corporates and supply chain, Marc Delbaere, described the instant gpi service as “evolution not revolution”. While the technology to build such a system existed 10 years ago, the appetite did not.

“There was not enough momentum. If you want to do global transformation you need people to be willing to change. There’s now the pressure of new entrants, such as fintech and payments processing providers. This creates pressure on the banking world,” he says.

The banks participating in the instant cross-border payments trial were ANZ, Bangkok Bank, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, CBA, DBS, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Kasikornbank, NAB, Siam Commercial Bank, Standard Chartered and United Overseas Bank.

ANZ’s head of clearing services Luke Perkins says the trial results will be welcomed by customers. “Not only does this suggest fast payment execution, but just as importantly, the ability to realistically break down time zone barriers, freeing up the payments landscape,” he says.

At its giant Sibos event in Sydney, Swift announced plans to rollout its gpi tracker for all users. From 2019, all banks on the Swift network will be able to trace and confirm their payment instructions, having visibility over their payment activity. This is also in line with plans to have universal gpi adoption by the end of 2020.

The payments network also launched gpi for corporates, a new multi-bank payments solution using gpi. There are a number of firms and banks already live with the solution, which allows companies to track multi-bank payments in their treasury applications.

These are: Airbus, BBVA,, Borealis, Citi, Deutsche Bank, General Electric, IATA, JP Morgan, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Microsoft, Ping An Group, Roche, SMBC, Société Générale and Standard Chartered.

“Since we launched gpi last year, the enthusiasm and support has been off the charts, and gpi is already radically improving the day-to-day experience of banks and their corporate customers,” says Harry Newman, head of banking at Swift.