Universal Confirmations – Why, What & How

3-minute masterclass

Keith Boldeau 

The old adage “Money makes the world go around” seems to be more and more applicable to today’s payments landscape.

Real-time, transparent and traceable tracking of payments is fundamentally key to commerce and to the relationship between a bank and its customers.

Universal Confirmations now seeks to deliver this reality, enabling those banks that are prepared to take advantage of these new services to deliver a differentiated level of service to their customers.

So, what is Universal Confirmations?

In 2018, SWIFT introduced the Unique End-to-End Transaction Reference (UETR) for all payments which aimed to provide transaction-level traceability for payments.

Payment confirmations, i.e. a confirmation that funds have been credited to the beneficiary account, is the next building block that SWIFT has implemented. As of 22nd November 2020, all FIN users classified under the user categories Supervised Financial Institutions (SUPE) or Payment System Participants (PSPA), will be required to provide confirmation when a MT 103 payment has been credited to the beneficiary account, rejected, placed on hold or transferred outside the SWIFT network.

Why is Universal Confirmations important?

Tracking a payment end-to-end and confirmation of credit to the beneficiary account are key for a few reasons:

  • Enables banks and other financial institutions to offer an enhanced customer experience
  • Increases operational efficiency through improved payments investigations
  • Acts as a building block for developing future value-add payment services

How can my institution confirm?

For institutions in scope for Universal Confirmations, there are a number of channels available, both manual and automated for providing payment confirmations.

If your financial institution typically handles low volumes of customer payments, SWIFT provides access to the Basic Tracker which allows for manual payment confirmations and supports basic search and tracking of payments via the Unique End-to-End Transaction Reference.

Financial institutions processing large volumes of incoming payments have several automated channels which they can leverage:

  • MT 199 – Confirmations can be sent via interbank payment message (MT 199) through an institution’s SWIFT interface.
  • Batch confirmations – A simple end-of-day CSV export from an institution’s payment application uploaded via SWIFT Alliance interface.
  • API – Financial institutions can leverage the gpi Connector to update the Tracker using the unique tracking code of the transaction.
  • ISO 20022 – Confirmations can be provided to the Tracker via ISO 20022-compliant XML messaging standard which becomes available as of 2021.

Are you ready?

Universal Confirmations are mandatory as of Nov 22nd2020!

If your institution requires further information on how to confirm, head over to

Projective Group work with financial institutions to provide domain-specific services in the area of complex business and technology transformation, business strategy and change management.

Financial Institutions leverage our expertise to deliver across a large number of payment initiatives, ISO20022, SWIFT gpi, Universal Confirmations and much more.

Interested in understanding how we can help your institution implement automated channels and adopt Universal Confirmations, migrate to ISO20022 or leverage APIs to innovate current services and develop new payments capabilities?  Feel free to comment below, reach out to us via LinkedIn, or contact us via our website. We’re always up for a good (virtual) chat!