Companies are now able to initiate and track all their payments in real time as part of Swift’s global payments innovation (gpi) for corporates system, which has now gone live.

The payments tracker, which enables users to trace cross-border payments in real time, was originally rolled out in May 2017 in response to a common complaint from Swift users about the lack of visibility on the status of payments. Until last year, the tracker was only available to banks, meaning that their clients had to rely on them to monitor the status of their payments. With gpi for corporates, Swift addresses the needs of multi-banked companies, affording them a single centralised and standardised view across all their banking partners.

“An increasing number of banks are offering gpi tracking through their individual portals which works well for companies that only work with one bank, but not so much for a multinational business dealing with multiple banks. Swift gpi for corporates solves this by creating a centralised view of multi-bank information, enabling us to track our payments all in one place,” says Olivier Valanchauskas, head of Airbus treasury platforms, in a statement.

Airbus was one of 22 corporates and banks – including, General Electric, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Citi, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Société Générale and Standard Chartered Bank – to test out the service as part of a pilot which started last August. Following its success, Swift has now opened up gpi for corporates to all, with more than 50 of the world’s largest companies – including LVMH, Microsoft and Petronas – already signing up.

Marc Delbaere, Swift’s head of corporates and trade, expects this number to grow significantly in the coming months. “gpi for corporates is the result of ground-breaking collaboration between corporates and banks to revolutionise cross-border payments for corporates. It creates a rule book which standardises and centralises their multi-bank information, providing unrivalled visibility, as well as saving them time and money,” he says.

This latest development brings Swift another step closer to its aim of achieving universal adoption of gpi for cross-border payments by 2020, whereby all 10,000 banks on its global network will use the service.

According to Swift, on average, half of gpi payments are credited to end beneficiaries within 30 minutes, and almost all within 24 hours – down from what could take days with Swift’s previous solution. It is not, however, without its critics. Speaking to GTR in an on-stage interview at the Blockchain Summit in London earlier this month, Ripple’s head of global banking Marjan Delatinne and former Swift employee emphasised that there are some challenges the gpi does not address. “Swift is improving dramatically the way that the payments happen today, but it’s still about the messaging,” she said. “You still send a message to another party. I don’t call it settlement, because this is not settlement, it’s around the fact that I can send a message in a faster way, and I can track it. This is an improvement from previously, where it could take days.”