Bridged translation – key considerations
Bridged translation extends the simple translation approach by allow data to be stored, indexed, updated and subsequently accessed beyond the simple translation.
Bridged translation differs from the simple translation approach in two key ways; firstly, data is treated end to end as a separate processing stream, with its own unique needs beyond payments value processing. Secondly, it addresses needs beyond even what payment vendor products offer in the full migration approach, namely the new and emerging data management needs in sharing, permissioning and most importantly the auditing and traceability of data as it progresses along the payments value chain.
Bridged translation, through the ability to centralise and have a single source of data truth, is the ideal first step towards a broader payment rationalisation program through centralising payments data.
A bridged approach captures all available data at payment initiation and ensures it remains preserved and available throughout the translation process, and for onward and subsequent reporting and access. This essentially means data integrity is maintained regardless of underlying system or message format. It can also be applied across multiple existing systems, not just for payment translation. The issues of information & structure loss that are present with simple translation are mitigated.
Along with data integrity, auditability is critical in ensuring all operations performed on the payment and the payment data are traced, not just within value systems but also along the entire payments chain, from initiation, to translation, to screening and to value processing. All changes, including attempts to alter the payment data for nefarious reasons, are captured and can be reported and proactively managed.
Shielding payment systems
ISO payments can be significantly larger than MT payments, especially when making use of structured remittance information. By sending this extended data in parallel rather than through the payment systems, complimenting existing value processing, banks protect their core systems investment from increased data throughput and storage requirements.
Due to the additional benefits and functionality the cost of a bridged translation approach can be expected to be somewhat higher than simple translation, it is significantly lower than the expenditure related to a full migration and re-platforming program. Furthermore, the benefits arising from the end-to-end integrity and preservation of full MX data can lead to lower operational costs, increase in STP rates: less repairs, inquiries to respond to, and transaction screening false positive. With a single view of the enhanced data, the costs and risks of regulatory can be improved beyond a simple business case.
As message formatting is handled outside of the core payment processing assets, the impact of (yearly) format updates is mostly isolated to the bridged translation. A bridged approach can also address new requirements to pass along data points that cannot be mapped to MT fields. Similarly, with the inherent centralised nature of the data in a bridged translation solution, other requirements such as screening and regulatory reporting can be maintained and centrally maintained.
Bridged translation can be an interesting hybrid solution to many banks, enabling them to avoid the potential costs and pitfalls of a full payments migration program, but still ensuring data integrity and end-to-end coverage. This approach is best for organisations that:
- Are looking for a solution that maintains data integrity due to tight deadlines and other mitigating factors may not be able to invest or otherwise commit to a multi-year payments migration program
- Have correspondent banking activities and are therefore required to respect FATF 16 and other regulatory and compliance needs.
- Have corporate customers that demand untruncated reporting/payment initiation and subsequent reporting.
- Operate in multiple regions and jurisdictions, where cost and complexity, along with regional or country specific needs, or low volumes preclude the other options.
- Wish to take a more measured approach to payments transformation, and which may elect to slowly decouple and decommission existing monolithic and legacy payment platforms.