B2B banking payment services to work together

Link: Online B2B revenues to top $820bn

Financial services industry-backed bodies Identrus and Swift are close to concluding negotiations over their rival secure online payment systems.

Identrus confirmed to VNU News Net that discussions about working closer togehter are at an advanced stage and that an announcement could well be made at the Sibos 2002 financial services technology conference in Geneva at the end of September.

‘There are indeed ongoing and constructive negotiations with Swift and the industry expects something definite out at the Sibos show,’ said John Bullard, managing director of sales and participant relations at Indentrus.

A spokeswoman for Swift would only say that discussions are ‘ongoing’.

‘The availability of two solutions left banks uncertain about which would prosper and so many refrained from espousing or choosing either,’ Alan Jebson, worldwide group IT director at HSBC told VNU News Net.

Identrus’s Project Eleanor uses digital certificates and has the backing of UK banks including Barclays Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC. It is currently being piloted in Europe by Dutch bank ABN Amro.

Swift’s e-paymentsPlus is a similar XML-based messaging platform that allows banks to offer branded online payment services to their corporate customers.

Both services allow ‘straight-through’ processing of payments instead of each part, such as negotiation and ordering, being a separate activity. It also includes information on what is being ordered and paid for linked to the payment.

This will speed up payment and reconciliation, and reduce the amount of paper involved with high-value B2B payments by the banks.

Jebson said negotiations between Swift and Identrus over e-paymentsPlus and Project Eleanor are ‘nearing conclusion’ and that a new service would probably be offered under the Swift umbrella.

‘The combined solution is likely to offer flexibility in terms of the trust models and messaging services, but as all existing pilots of Eleanor or e-paymentsPlus use Identrus, this is likely to be the preferred certification provider,’ he said.

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