Financial services industry initiative

An investment in the future

These days the ability to make prompt, secure money transfers is vital to any nation where business is conducted. Payment traffic is as crucial to the economy as the water or electricity supply. Every year the interbank (bank-to-bank) system handles payments amounting to some CHF 39 trillion, including around CHF 7 trillion in customer payments. The amounts of money shifted via the financial institutions’ infrastructure correspond to around 60 times Switzerland’s gross domestic product. Handling all this is a herculean task without which the Swiss economy could not exist and grow.

Two main drivers: Digitization and regulation

The share of customer payments made electronically has risen to 74% in recent years. Even though it is electronic, there are still gaps in the cycle from the issuing of a bill to the incoming payment, which means that the process still requires a lot of work, is prone to error, and is inefficient. Given the transformation business processes are undergoing, it is no longer appropriate for billers to transfer digital information to paper only for it to be digitized again by the customer. Full compliance with new regulatory requirements (the FINMA Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance and the recommendations issued by the Financial Action Task Force) is not possible at present because not all credit transfers allow the flow of information from the party initiating the payment to the beneficiary’s bank, which is responsible for a thorough risk assessment. Only the phasing out of payment slips and the introduction of the QR-bill will pave the way for this to happen.

The payment system processes more than a billion credit transfers a year. To make sure the system stays up to speed in the long term and all the relevant requirements are met, in the next few years the payment traffic will be harmonized and prepared for the future.
More on regulation
More on digitization