SWIFT Changes 2021 and It’s Impact


The “SWIFT 2021” initiative will have a wide-ranging impact on the financial community. Designed to improve transparency and protect against money laundering, this package of updates removes free-format data from payment messages so senders and beneficiaries can be clearly identified and screened against lists of sanctioned entities.


Currently, in fields 50 and 59 of the MT103 payment message, it is possible to use repeat characters that may pass checks but obscure the sender or beneficiary’s identity. The new standard, which becomes mandatory in November 2021 will require these fields to include a name, address and country code, and details will not be allowed to be repeated on different lines. Payment messages that fail to comply will not get through. Moreover, all banks which use the SWIFT network to send universal confirmations and are not compliant from June 2021 onwards will be published for competitors and customers alike to see. With reputation at stake, banks are encouraged to be compliant to boost their position in the market and stay ahead of the competition.


The SWIFT releases set for 2021 are designed to improve the payments experience for customers and for banks. By reducing interoperability issues, increasing speed of confirmations and providing richer information and enhanced transparency, the new releases will transform the user experience as a whole. By enhancing the experience across the end-to-end payment processing chain, financial institutions should feel a positive and beneficial change.


PS Global team is ready to work with the clients to help them implement the changes and make them compliant to standards which will take effect.


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