Frequently asked questions
When are the conventional standards, schemes & formats being replaced in Swiss payment traffic?
The conventional standards and formats will no longer be supported for credit transfers as of the mid-2018 and for the slips as of mid-2020.
Why are a harmonization & convergence with the SEPA necessary for Switzerland?
Particularly customers that have concurrent business relationships with banks and PostFinance and who potentially also process international payments, do not understand why there should be different standards. The harmonization offers financial institutions the opportunity to reduce the current complexity and diversity while eliminating redundancies, thereby reducing costs and compensating for the ongoing and increasing margin pressure from steadily increasing regulation costs.
Why is the present migration date appropriate?
The EU has sent a strong signal by switching over to the SEPA standards on the pan-European level in 2014. As a participant in this European payment area, the Swiss financial center is now carrying out the migration according to a coordinated schedule. The timely implementation of the joint venture is necessary to safeguard long-term competitiveness as well as to meet the increasing regulatory requirements. Additionally, the harmonization of Swiss payment traffic processes offers an ideal opportunity to reduce the current complexity and diversity and to eliminate redundancies – particularly in view of the fact that the operators SIX Interbank Clearing and PostFinance will replace their payment systems in any case in the course of modernization.
What are the greatest challenges regarding the migration?
For one thing, the payment instruments must function in parallel according to both the old and new schemes, standards and formats during the transition phase. On the other hand, the new infrastructures must provide availability and quality equal to the current infrastructures after the migration.
Is Swiss payment traffic losing its independence & uniqueness with the harmonization initiative?
Independence is not lost with a convergence (e.g. CHF). For example, the highly-efficient ISR process, with its very high STP rate, will continue to exist, though it will meet regulatory requirements in the future by delivery ordering party and recipient data.
How will Swiss private & corporate customers profit from the harmonization of Swiss payments?
Once the migration is complete, standard interfaces, data entry, validation and higher STP rates will result in lower maintenance and investigation costs and thus for an even faster and more secure payment transactions with very high quality.
What are the advantages for the market participants?
Through the standardization of interfaces between SIX Interbank Clearing and PostFinance and the reduction of slip diversity, the market participants will benefit from higher STP rates and lower operating and further development costs. In addition, synergies can be better achieved between national and international payment traffic.
How are decisions being made regarding the migration initiative in the Swiss financial center? When will all relevant framework conditions be known?
The decision-making body is the Board of Directors of SIX Interbank Clearing, which sets the definitive framework conditions – based on the decision-making foundations provided by the relevant working groups set up in the financial center.
What would be the consequences for the Swiss financial center if the migration did not take place or was delayed?
The implementation of future regulatory requirements would have to be solved in a more expensive manner. For those customers that have already switched over to the ISO 20022 standard the cost-intensive transition phase would be prolonged.
Many customers use software for their accounting. How will the software manufacturers be involved in the migration?
Nearly 90% of corporate customers use standard software that can be updated with a single update. Software providers will be informed through the financial institutions’ customary communication channels.
What future is there for checks?
The use of checks is declining in Switzerland, while in countries such as Italy or France, they are still widely used.