Since 2013, the major Swiss banks have offered their corporate customers the EBICS communication standard. Since May 2015, Switzerland has been an official member of the EBICS committee that aims to promote and maintain the standard throughout all of Europe and beyond. To help EBICS make a definitive breakthrough, the leading EBICS producers and the major Swiss bank Credit Suisse have formed a work committee to promote EBICS in Switzerland (AFES). Swiss software producers benefit from a campaign that enables a smooth start with EBICS.
Submitting payment orders or obtaining electronic account statements are typical EBICS transactions. EBICS is especially popular in multi-banking, because companies can access different banks with just one identification. In the last few years, more and more medium-sized and smaller banks in Switzerland have also joined the EBICS movement, with proprietary interfaces gradually disappearing from the market. Recently discovered cases of internet fraud at companies have given the standard an additional boost, because the EBICS mechanism of the distributed electronic signature (VEU) significantly reduces the risk of an attack.
The AFES initiative offers interested producers the proven EBICS-Kernel from PPI – a software library optionally in Java or C code – as a starting package at very attractive conditions. As soon as the maintenance module and an onboarding package (optionally with access to an EBICS test server) have been agreed, the client is ready to go. Here Credit Suisse assumes the role of an intermediary and makes its infrastructure available for training purposes. This creates a win situation for all participants, and the Swiss banks benefit from the expected standardisation of the corporate banking interfaces.
The initiators anticipate that the standard will proliferate more rapidly in Switzerland. This will be welcomed by all, including foreign financial institutions in Europe that already offer EBICS as an interface. Experience has shown that standardisation is the basis for increased competition, with bank customers ultimately benefiting most of all. This is also borne out by current discussions in Europe that want to see banks increasingly obligated to provide open interfaces. In this context EBICS is certainly an important component, and we can be sure that further software producers and banks will launch joint initiatives.
More information on the initiative: www.ebics-initiative.ch.