Building better international banking services on the swift network

Building better international banking services on the SWIFT network 

Of all the banking networks SWIFT is without a doubt the most widely recognized. Their financial messaging protocols are an established standard in the industry and are used not only over their own proprietary network, but also form the basis of communication within internal networks of other banks. 

This network,consisting of over 10000 banks, has been traditionally used only for the purpose of financial messaging. However with banks starting to experiment with technologies like BITCOIN we should take initiative to make SWIFT’s offerings a bit more diverse and protocol independent. 

The easiest way to do that is to use the already established network to deliver exceptional services to some of the biggest international industries like airlines,tourism and video games.   

The need 

  • Pseudo banking platforms like paypal and stripe have exorbitant fees, limited reach and an infrastructure that does not support a business of volumes. These platforms have been in business for a decade and have given us ample proof that a payment disbursement solution can work on a global scale. Their services can be implemented better and cheaper on a core banking level. 
  • Single currency wealth management options are well established but when we talk about a businesses spanning across countries and dealing with multiple currencies we fall short of options. The existing services, both third party and core banking, are abysmal when it comes to payment disbursements as well as wealth management for global businesses. And herein lies our opportunity. 

The Market

Any business that deals with international payments is our potential customer

  • Ecommerce Marketplaces like airbnb,upwork etc
  • Airlines and aviation startups like surfair 
  • Small banks looking to serve global customers, niche payment gateways for sectors like video games,telcos and real estate.  

These are not small industries. We are talking about a market that has a combined worth of over 1.4 trillion dollars.   

Further it is important that we look beyond the existing prospects. Just as AWS revolutionized the computer services industry by making the infrastructure easily available we can have the same impact by making banking services more available and relevant for international businesses.  We have an opportunity to not only serve a trillion dollar industry but also to create new markets altogether.  

The implementation

We are proposing to create better wealth management applications for international businesses, both startups and more established ones. Here’s a very simplistic overview of how it will work:- 

  • Our customers will be offered a multicurrency accounts which they can use to hold funds for the purposes of disbursements. 

      –    Using swift’s secure messaging protocols we can communicate between the client services and the banks. 

      – Customers can invoke operations on these accounts with the help of an easy to use api that can be integrated with their own services.

The benefits 

  • Decoupling of payment acquisition from payment disbursements. 
  • Tighter control over currency exchanges
  • Ability to manage wealth on the behalf of clients and to integrate these services in their own applications. 

Protocol independence would be a key feature of these services. This means even though the banks may replace the underlying technology with blockchain or anything else in the future, our business model remains secure. 

This way we get to position SWIFT (with its decades of experience in the financial sector) as an institution of choice when it comes to international banking services. 

Further reading

  1. Blue Oceans for Banks
  2. How Banks can replicate the success of visa and mastercard by creating globally accessible services
  3. A banking hub for airline Joint Ventures



  • On January 26, 2020