Market infrastructures are preparing for an instant and frictionless future, through several initiatives. Globally, the most prominent one is the migration to ISO 20022 format for interbank exchanges – a major change in the payment industry! The adoption of this format will ensure the exchange of richer data in payments and thus more efficient processing.
The Nordics have their own major interbank initiative, with the deployment of P27 in Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Set to launch in 2024, it will establish a single pan-Nordic payment infrastructure for domestic and cross-border payments in multiple currencies, also offering instant capabilities for both Sweden and Denmark. Norway, which is not part of the P27 project, plans to launch its own instant payment scheme this year, through a new Straks product. As a major international bank in the Nordics, BNP Paribas is actively preparing for the launch of these instant initiatives.
Besides working to improve local payments, BNP Paribas is committed to reducing friction in international transactions as well. Real-time tracking of cross-border payments through SWIFT gpi is now available in all Nordic countries and in a total of 20 of our markets. In Connexis Cash, an impressive amount of 1200+ client accounts have been activated for the Inbound Tracking functionality, which also offers an email alert feature for users to be informed of any updates instantly.
Besides SWIFT gpi, we also cooperate with SWIFT and other market players on several other initiatives, such as SWIFT’s Pre-validation initiative, or the Immediate Cross Border (IXB) project with EBA Clearing and TCH Clearing, which will enable instant payments in USD and EUR between Europe and the US. And in order to support our customers in the fight against fraud, an area which requires constant attention, we cooperate with other companies like SIS ID and invest heavily in AI technology.
With a paradigm shift in the B2B space, in which e-commerce and marketplaces are quickly taking a more prominent role, B2B buyers and sellers both want a more seamless end-to-end experience. In this area BNP Paribas develops and cooperates with different Fintechs to support our customers to find the most efficient way and best user experience for each unique situation. In the Nordics, a good example of such close collaboration is the one we have with Trustly, to allow our customers to benefit from digital Account-to-Account transactions (“A2A”).
E-invoicing is also becoming a major topic in Europe. Although long existing in the Nordics for B2G transactions, all four Nordic countries have now announced their intention to extend e-invoicing obligations to B2B transactions by 2025. For Corporates, on top of streamlining the invoice process, moving to e-invoicing is also a great opportunity to review the entire Order-to-Cash cycle, and determine new KPIs to remove other pain points in this cycle, such as reducing Days Outstanding Sales, improving reconciliation and cash forecasting, and rethink their receivables strategy, all of this with the advisory support of their bank. For example, it is BNP Paribas’ strong belief that SEPA Request-to-Pay will be the perfect add-on to e-invoices, to provide an enhanced digital experience for invoice collection and automated reconciliation. Naturally, we expect this development to go hand in hand with the Nordic Request-to-Pay product as it reaches the market in the coming years.
All of this is testimony to how hard BNP Paribas teams are working to bring value to our clients and to build a better future together.