The SWIFT CSP Framework might have a new name, but the underlying reasons for the program’s necessity have not changed.

Payment fraud has become a daily reality, an invasive threat that darkens the door of every organization, striking a staggering 78% of companies in 2017 according to AFP’s 2018 survey of nearly 700 treasury and finance professionals.

That’s sobering news for payment security professionals and it certainly explains why three of the previously advisory controls in SWIFT’s security framework are now mandatory and why two advisory controls have been added – regulations are having to adapt fast to keep up with increasingly complex fraud threats.

Staying ahead of the threat of fraud is an ongoing battle that requires constant vigilance. The SWIFT CSP Framework is a great place to start, providing a clear, easy-to-follow set of guidelines that offer a solid baseline of security protection. But as companies race towards the December 31 deadline, trying to figure out where they stand, consulting their audit checklists and making sure they know everything they need to know, I would encourage them to pause for a moment in their preparation to reflect on the competitive advantage this opportunity affords them.

What if you could give your organization an unfair advantage – an extra level of competitiveness – by going beyond what’s called for in the SWIFT CSP Framework?

If you aren’t sure what security has to do with your company’s ability to compete, let me explain.

As fraud incidents have become more prevalent, people have become inured to them; tuned out to the never-ceasing barrage of breaches reported in their news feed. It makes sense — after all, there are only so many cyber security catastrophe headlines you can read before you stop paying attention. But what if the name of your business showed up in the news as the result of a fraud incident? Your customers would surely notice then – and they would take their business elsewhere.

If your organization hasn’t been hit by fraud yet, congratulations. But you’re sitting on a virtual powder keg waiting to explode out from under you — one that’s likely to take a devastating number of your customers with it.

But what if we turn the situation around?

If customers are highly likely to leave you if they think you’re a security risk — wouldn’t they be pounding on your door if they believed you could provide them with far better security than the competition?

That’s the opportunity that’s hiding in this SWIFT CSP Framework scenario.

To start, the SWIFT framework is largely mandatory, requiring you to make security a main focus of your business for the coming months anyway — so why not turn it into a competitive advantage?

It’s as simple as being alerted to security issues in real-time and stopping fraudulent payments before they happen. If you could do that, you’d look like nothing short of a super hero in the minds of your customers – and all for doing something that really just makes good business sense to begin with.

This isn’t a wild goose chase or a fairy tale. Real-time monitoring solutions that can identify threats and stop them before they cause long-term damage actually exist and they’re available now, whether you go it alone or use a service bureau. Find one and implement it as soon as possible. It’s the surest way to avoid financial losses and reputational damage. It also gives you the power to assure your customers that you can protect their payments, a move that will set you apart from the rest of the entire industry. If that isn’t one of the most important things you could do for your business is the coming months, then I don’t know what is.

Ultimately, this all comes down to stopping fraud before it happens, securing each and every payment that passes through your hands. That has to be your ultimate goal. Achieve that and you can seize a competitive advantage your peers don’t even realize is available to them.

Posted by James Richardson

James Richardson has 15+ years’ experience in payments, working with FIs and Corporates to secure critical payments and reduce fraud risk. James is Head of Market Development, Risk & Fraud, for Bottomline Technologies.