Nexus: a blueprint for instant cross-border payments

This 2021 report has been superseded and is now out of date. Please refer to the main Nexus page for the latest updates and reports.

Innovation Hub Other  | 
28 July 2021

Nexus is a model for connecting multiple national payment systems into a cross-border platform that could enable international payments to happen as quickly as sending a text message.

More than 60 countries already have instant (or "fast") payment systems that allow people to send money to each other within seconds. However, sending money abroad is often still slow and expensive. Connecting these national systems internationally, through Nexus, could improve the speed, cost and transparency of cross-border payments.

This summary report addresses the challenges that would need to be overcome and explains how a bridging platform like Nexus could streamline the process of linking national systems. It makes recommendations for countries that are upgrading or rebuilding their payments technology to prepare for cross-border interoperability.

The accompanying technical documents provide much more detail on the functionality required by payments systems operators, their member banks and service providers, along with proposed message flows and specifications for application programming interfaces (API) that will link different platforms.

The BIS Innovation Hub has developed this blueprint through 30 workshops with instant payment system operators, central banks, and large banks who are active in foreign exchange markets and cross-border payments.

We are now testing and improving on this blueprint through an experimental prototype of Nexus that will connect at least three payment systems – currently, those of Singapore, Malaysia and the euro area. This experiment will process simulated payments but will not handle real money or actual payments from real users.