July 20th, 2017

The ‘Swiss Change’ – What is CAMT?

There is a significant financial shift happening in Switzerland right now, it is being referred to as ‘The Swiss change’. By 2018, all banks, software vendors, and individuals will have to adapt their payment systems. Credit transfers, direct debits and electronic payments will all need to use the same standards, languages, procedure and format to be compatible. That new format is called CAMT, and it will affect everyone in Switzerland.

CAMT is short for cash management, the new bank statement formats are XML and will be compliant with the recent ISO 20022. CAMT ensures the customer a continuous XML process, mainly for SEPA payments, from submission through to the account statement with no disruption. All Swiss financial institutions participating in bank payment systems will have migrated to ISO 20022 by late 2017. The Swiss financial center decided they should also harmonize their payment transfers to make them more efficient than the current system.

The key advantages of this over existing formats are that local formats are isolated and are not always compatible with other formats. For example, maintenance costs are currently high for companies who have operations worldwide. These types of companies will be the first to gain advantage of the new standardized formats, which will help streamline their worldwide business. The new CAMT format versions are a powerful alternative to existing formats such as the SWIFT MT message formats.

The three most relevant CAMT formats for payment processes are listed below.

  • camt.052Electronic Account Report

This bank-to-customer account report will provide you with information on all transactions and entries, including SEPA transactions within Euro payment zones. The camt.052 will enable you to control your cash assets and take advantage of interest on credit balances, this will be facilitated by real-time transactions. The camt.052 is an alternative to the MT941 Balance Report, and MT942 Interim Transaction Report.

  • camt.053Customer Statement

This bank-to-customer statement provides you with the required information about your entries, including SEPA transactions within Euro payment zones. With camt.053, you have detailed, exact, and organized information on all entries for your previous business day. The camt.053 is an alternative to the MT940 Customer Statement Message, and for banks: the MT950 Statement Message.

  • camt.054Bank-to-Customer Debit/Credit Notification

The camt.054 format provides you with the required information on all transactions entered on your account. This includes the information on SEPA transactions in standard Euro payments. The reports in camt.054 allow you to carry out the processing of individual transactions entered on your account as a total figure. This is an alternative to MT900 Confirmation Debit, and MT910 Confirmation Credit.

The key benefits of the CAMT format:

  • Consistent procedures, standards and formats.
  • Improved data quality and straight-through processing.
  • More information can be sent at one time.
  • It supports automatic cash application.
  • It optimizes account reconciliation.
  • Easier implementation of regulatory requirements.

When both the initial payment and the account reporting are done in the same format, payments can automatically be administered from one end of the line to the other without problems. Once Switzerland have made the move to CAMT, it is likely that more banks in the SEPA zone will follow suit. ‘The Swiss change’ is likely to have a knock-on effect in Europe and may lead to changes on the international standard formats in due course.

At Cashbook, we have been working with CAMT files for almost two years now. If you are worried how this change will affect your business, and you would like to discuss how Cashbook can automate this process, get in touch with our team on +353 61 338 400 (international) or +1 818 292 9015 (North America), or email info@cashbook.com.

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