Victoria Cleland: Rowing in unison to enhance cross-border payments

Speech by Ms Victoria Cleland, Executive Director for Banking, Payments and Innovation of the Bank of England, at the Central Bank Payments Conference 2022, Athens, 29 June 2022.

Central bank speech  | 
01 July 2022

Accompanying annex of the speech. 

The importance of cross-border payments

I am delighted to be speaking once again at the Central Bank Payments Conference. I have previously highlighted the establishment of the roadmap and targets to enhance cross-border payments. Today, I want to update you on some of the tangible progress already made in this area. And to stress the important role that you can play in working collaboratively across the public and private sectors to deliver real improvements to the cost, speed, transparency and accessibility of cross-border payments.

Cross-border payments are essential to the global economy. It is estimated that this year the global cross-border payment market will settle $156 trillion. And it is not just the wholesale markets that are impacted: cross-border payments are crucial to businesses, consumers and remittances. In Greece alone remittances reached an all-time high of 338 EUR million in January 2022.

And the importance of cross-border payments is due to grow further. Business-to-business cross-border payments grew over 25% over the past two years and reached $34 trillion in 2021. A recent study suggested that 87% of global merchant executives see cross-border sales as their biggest growth potential. But despite their importance, many cross-border payments are still slow, expensive and difficult to track. While some wholesale payments are very effective, there are too many cases, for remittance payments in particular, where payments can take up to 10 days and cost more than 10% of the value of the underlying transfer. And this has a very real impact on businesses and individuals.