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BRICS PAY project vs SWIFT

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The BRICS PAY project and SWIFT are both financial messaging systems, but they have different purposes, structures, and geopolitical implications. Here’s a comparison of the two:

1. Purpose and Scope

  • SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication):
  • Purpose: SWIFT is a global provider of secure financial messaging services. It facilitates international money transfers and communication between banks.
  • Scope: It is used by over 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries.
  • Purpose: BRICS PAY aims to create a unified payment system for BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) to enhance trade within these countries and reduce dependence on Western financial systems.
  • Scope: Initially focused on BRICS nations but potentially expandable to other countries interested in joining or aligning with BRICS economic policies.

2. Technology and Functionality

  • SWIFT:
  • Technology: SWIFT uses a standardized messaging protocol for financial transactions and secure communications between banks. It does not handle the actual transfer of funds but provides the information and messaging necessary for the transfers.
  • Functionality: Primarily used for bank-to-bank transfers, trade financing, and securities transactions.
  • Technology: BRICS PAY is designed to integrate existing payment infrastructures of the member countries, creating a seamless and interoperable system for transactions within BRICS.
  • Functionality: Aims to facilitate retail payments, cross-border trade settlements, and possibly peer-to-peer transactions using a shared digital payment infrastructure.

3. Geopolitical Context

  • SWIFT:
  • Geopolitical Influence: SWIFT is based in Belgium and subject to European Union regulations. It has been perceived as influenced by Western political interests, particularly by the United States.
  • Sanctions Tool: SWIFT has been used as a tool for enforcing economic sanctions, which can exclude targeted countries from the global financial system.
  • Geopolitical Influence: BRICS PAY is seen as a strategic initiative to reduce the influence of Western-controlled financial systems and mitigate the risk of economic sanctions from Western countries.
  • Economic Independence: It promotes economic cooperation and independence among BRICS nations by providing an alternative to SWIFT.

4. Implementation and Adoption

  • SWIFT:
  • Implementation: Widely adopted and considered the global standard for financial messaging.
  • Adoption: Virtually all major financial institutions worldwide use SWIFT.
  • Implementation: Still in development and early stages of implementation. The success depends on the integration of member countries' payment systems and broader international acceptance.
  • Adoption: Primarily adopted within BRICS nations but aiming to attract other countries seeking alternatives to SWIFT.

5. Security and Reliability

  • SWIFT:
  • Security: High level of security with continuous updates and enhancements to protect against cyber threats.
  • Reliability: Known for reliability and robustness, with decades of operational history.
  • Security: The security measures are still being developed, with a focus on creating a resilient system against cyber threats.
  • Reliability: As a newer system, it has yet to establish a track record of reliability comparable to SWIFT.


While SWIFT is the established global standard for financial messaging, BRICS PAY represents a strategic effort by BRICS nations to create a more independent and regionally focused payment system. The development of BRICS PAY highlights the shifting dynamics in global financial systems and the desire of emerging economies to reduce reliance on Western-dominated infrastructures.