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Bank for International Settlements launches global panel to harmonize API protocols for cross-border payments; invites applications

The Bank for International Settlements’ Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) has invited cross-border payment service providers, financial infrastructures, relevant industry associations and central banks to nominate API experts to join a newly established panel to work on the harmonisation of API protocols for cross-border payments.

Nominees should possess strong technical knowledge and experience of API development, open banking and (cross-border) payments, as well as familiarity with API standardisation initiatives at the jurisdictional and/or multilateral level.

Enhancing cross-border payments’ speed and transparency while increasing access to cross-border payment services and reducing their costs are the key objectives of the G20 cross-border payments programme. APIs are increasingly being adopted by payment systems and payment service providers alike. By reducing manual intervention and facilitating more timely data exchange across the payment chain, APIs can facilitate more efficient and faster cross-border payments. APIs are already successfully used, among other things, for account validation, compliance screening, message repairs and investigations.

As APIs gain wider adoption, the fragmentation of API protocols stands to undercut the potential implementation benefits. Supporting greater harmonisation of API protocols has thus been identified by the G20 cross-border payments programme as a priority initiative for achieving cheaper, faster, more transparent and more accessible cross-border payments. Hence, the harmonisation of APIs is a priority action for the implementation phase of the cross-border payments programme.

The API panel of experts will be a joint group of private and public sector representatives to help: (i) assist in the evaluation of proposals for API standards in cross-border payment information exchange; (ii) propose areas for greater harmonisation of APIs used in cross-border payments; and (iii) develop a longer-term global governance proposal and process to continue updating harmonised API requirements. APEX aims to complete this work by July 2024.

The panel will be geographically and sectorally diverse and consist of approximately 20 members. Private sector institutions following different business models, financial infrastructures (eg payment system operators), API standards associations and public sector authorities are invited to submit nominations. The panel will meet virtually and at least quarterly. It will be chaired by a senior CPMI representative. Further details on the draft terms of reference for the APEX can be provided on request.


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