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IP to IP (IPIP) Transfers

IP to IP transfers refer to a part of the process of transferring currency or assets, liabilities and equities from corresponding bank accounts or data between different financial institutions or systems by utilizing Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.  In the context of financial transactions, The IP address is a unique numerical identifier assigned to every device connected to the internet, and it is used to route information between different systems. IP to IP transfers in banking involve the direct communication between two systems using their respective IP addresses to facilitate a financial transaction. Special authentication and authorization methods are used on top to secure information integrity and security. 

However, it's important to note that IP to IP transfers are not common or recommended in the banking industry for a variety of reasons, including security, reliability, and compliance concerns. The following points provide some context on these concerns:

  1. Security: IP to IP transfers can be less secure compared to established banking networks, such as SWIFT or ACH, which implement multiple layers of security, encryption, and authentication. Direct communication between two IP addresses may expose sensitive information to potential security threats, including hacking, phishing, or man-in-the-middle attacks.
  2. Reliability: The use of IP to IP transfers does not guarantee the reliability of the transaction, as there are no universally recognized standards or protocols in place for IP-based transfers in the banking industry. This may lead to potential issues with transaction processing, tracking, and reconciliation.
  3. Compliance: Banks and financial institutions are subject to numerous regulations and requirements, including Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) policies. IP to IP transfers may not adhere to these regulatory requirements, potentially exposing the involved parties to legal and financial risks.


Instead of IP to IP transfers, banks and financial institutions prefer to use established networks, such as SWIFT, RTGS or ACH/Instant Payment and messaging standards like ISO 20022 to facilitate secure, reliable, and compliant fund transfers between different institutions.

Protocols for IPIP

  1. FIX (Financial Information eXchange): Primarily used in the finance industry for communication and exchange of financial information. In the context of IPIP, FIX facilitates real-time exchange of financial data, supporting high-speed transactions. Its relevance to HPC environments lies in the need for processing large volumes of financial data rapidly, where high-performance computing can significantly enhance data processing and analysis capabilities.
  2. EBICS (Electronic Banking Internet Communication Standard): A protocol used for secure transmission of payment transactions. In IPIP, EBICS ensures secure and standardized communication between banking institutions. HPC can be utilized to handle the complex calculations and large datasets involved in banking transactions, improving processing speed and efficiency.
  3. ZENGIN: A Japanese banking protocol for domestic fund transfers and direct debits. In IPIP scenarios, ZENGIN enables efficient and secure handling of high-volume domestic transactions. HPC environments can process these transactions more quickly, especially when dealing with peak load periods.
  4. AS2 (Applicability Statement 2): Used for secure data transport over the Internet. In IPIP, AS2 is crucial for transmitting EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) messages securely. HPC can enhance the capability to process large volumes of EDI messages, particularly in industries like retail and manufacturing where EDI is prevalent.
  5. SNMPv3 (Simple Network Management Protocol version 3): Enhances the security and integrity of management data in network management systems. In IPIP, SNMPv3 is instrumental for securely monitoring and managing network devices. Within HPC environments, it can be used to monitor and manage extensive networks, ensuring optimal performance and security.
  6. Kerberos: A network authentication protocol designed for a client-server model, providing strong authentication and secure communications. In IPIP, Kerberos can secure the transfer of sensitive information. In HPC, it ensures that the data and resources are accessed only by authenticated users, crucial for maintaining the integrity of high-performance computing tasks.
  7. OAuth: An open standard for access delegation, commonly used for token-based authentication and authorization. In IPIP, OAuth enables secure, delegated access to resources. In HPC environments, OAuth can manage access to computing resources and data, ensuring secure and efficient resource utilization.
  8. LDAP over SSL/TLS (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol over Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security): Enhances the security of LDAP communications. In IPIP, this protocol ensures secure access to directory services. For HPC environments, LDAP over SSL/TLS can be used to securely manage user identities and control access to computing resources.
  9. SCP and SFTP over SSH (Secure Copy Protocol and Secure File Transfer Protocol over Secure Shell): These protocols are used for secure file transfer. In the context of HPC, they are crucial for securely transferring large datasets and code between computing nodes. SCP and SFTP over SSH ensure data integrity and security, which is vital in HPC environments where data sensitivity is often high.


Each of these protocols plays a unique role in facilitating secure, efficient, and reliable data exchange and communication, which are key components in IPIP  environments. Their implementation under HPC ensures robust security and high-performance data processing capabilities. In IPIP transactions involving the transfer of currency, bank assets, liabilities and equity, the mentioned protocols are necessary but not sufficient for the completion of the financial transactions:

IP to IP Currency Transfer Structure 

Actual Fund Transfer:  These protocols efficiently transmit transaction details but don't handle the actual movement of funds. For transferring funds, systems like corresponding banking, Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), and instant transfers are essential. They physically move the money between accounts, completing the financial transaction unless the funds are already lodged in a and have to be moved out from a nostro-vostro account. Beyond data transmission, there's a need for actual fund settlement, to ensure the real-time movement of funds and to reflect the transactions accurately in the banking systems.

IPIP Funds Transfer to us

To alleviate some compliance concerns when an MT 103 was sent per IPIP instead of SWIFT to us, you could consider your sending bank including the following additional information in the MT 202 COV within the correspondent bank to correspondent bank transmission of funds, where the format allows:

  1. Ordering Customer Information: Provide details of the ordering customer, similar to Field 50 in MT 103. This can include name, address, and account number.
  2. Beneficiary Information: Include details of the beneficiary, mimicking Field 59 in MT 103. This should have the beneficiary name, address, and account numbe
  3. Purpose of Payment: Explicitly state the reason for the transaction, which could alleviate some Anti-Money Laundering (AML) concerns.
  4. Regulatory Reporting Information: If your jurisdiction requires, include codes or identifiers for regulatory reporting.
  5. Reference to IPIP MT 103: A specific mention that the MT 202 COV is tied to a IPIP MT 103, can provide context to the intermediary bank.
  6. Contact Information: Include specific contact details for the compliance department or transaction manager responsible for this payment, in case the receiving bank needs immediate clarification.
  7. Special Handling Instructions: Any extra instructions for the receiving bank that could facilitate the identification and proper handling of the transferred funds.
  8. Charges and Fees Information: In absence of an SWIFT MT 103, it might be beneficial to clarify who will bear transaction-related charges to prevent misunderstandings.
  9. Additional Identifiers: Include any additional transaction identifiers that can link the MT 202 COV to the IPIP MT 103, such as invoice numbers or internal transaction IDs.


Note on Compliance

Including additional information in the MT 202 COV may not fully mitigate compliance risks, especially AML and CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism) checks that are typically addressed with a SWIFT MT 103 message and it's important to ensure that the modified MT 202 COV still complies with applicable standards and interbank agreements.

 

Actual Transfer of Assets, Liabilities and Equities: In asset, liabilities and equity transactions, it's crucial to record these transfers with the CSDs. CSDs are responsible for maintaining the legal record of securities ownership, a process beyond the scope of the initial communication protocols. The transfer of assets and equities also impacts the banks' financial statements, altering liabilities, assets, and equity balances. This financial reporting to the involved controlling authorities and the necessary compliance aspect is beyond the data transmission capabilities of the protocols and requires additional financial and regulatory processes.


In essence, while protocols are vital for the secure and efficient exchange of information in IPIP transactions, the complete process involves additional systems for actual currency, asset, liabilities and equities movement, settlement, legal recording and financial reporting, ensuring that the entire transaction is executed in compliance with regulatory banking standards. 

What can be transferred from Bank to Bank?

Bank Assets:

  1. Cash & Cash Equivalents: These are funds that can be accessed immediately or almost immediately. They include physical cash, deposits with other banks, and highly liquid securities like Treasury bills.
  2. Investments/Securities: These are financial instruments that the bank invests in to earn a return, such as government and corporate bonds, stocks, and other securities.
  3. Loans and Advances: These are the funds that a bank lends to its customers, and they generate interest income. They can include personal loans, mortgages, commercial loans, credit card balances, and overdrafts.
  4. Fixed Assets: These are physical properties owned by the bank, such as buildings, land, equipment, and furniture.
  5. Intangible Assets: These include non-physical assets like software, patents, trademarks, and goodwill.
  6. Other Assets: These can include accrued interest receivable, deferred tax assets, and derivative financial instruments among others.


Bank Liabilities:

  1. Deposits: These are funds that individuals and businesses keep in the bank. They include checking accounts, savings accounts, and time deposits. They are liabilities because the bank has an obligation to return these funds to the depositors on demand or at a specific maturity date.
  2. Borrowed Funds: These are funds that the bank borrows from other financial institutions, the central bank, or through issuing debt securities.
  3. Debt Securities: These are bonds or other forms of debt issued by the bank to raise funds. The bank is obligated to pay back the principal and interest to the bondholders.
  4. Other Liabilities: These include items like accrued expenses, accounts payable, deferred tax liabilities, provisions for loan losses, and derivative financial instruments.
  5. Subordinated Liabilities: These are debts that will only be paid after all other debts if the bank goes bankrupt.


Bank Equity:

  1. Common Stock: This is the equity that owners of the bank hold. They have voting rights and may receive dividends.
  2. Preferred Stock: This type of equity has a higher claim on earnings and assets than common stock but usually doesn't come with voting rights.
  3. Retained Earnings: These are the net earnings a bank has accumulated over the years and chosen to reinvest in the business rather than distribute as dividends.
  4. Treasury Stock: These are the bank's own shares that it has repurchased from the market.
  5. Other Comprehensive Income: These are gains and losses from various investments and derivatives that haven't been realized yet.
  6. Minority Interest: This is the part of the net assets of a subsidiary attributable to equity interests that are not owned, directly or indirectly through subsidiaries, by the parent.

IP Direct

IP Direct

The IP Direct mechanism involves a specialized transaction process within the context of interbank operations. To elucidate:

Nostro-Vostro Account Relationship: The foundation of this transaction lies in the establishment of a 'nostro-vostro' account relationship between two banking entities. In this scenario, the 'ordering bank' holds a 'nostro' (meaning 'ours' in Latin, referring to 'our account with you') account with the International Financial Bank (IFB), which reciprocally maintains a 'vostro' (meaning 'yours' in Latin, indicating 'your account with us') account on behalf of the ordering bank. This bilateral account arrangement is pivotal for the facilitation of the IP Direct transactions.


IP Direct Mechanism: When employing the IP Direct method, the ordering bank initiates a transaction that is directly processed through the integrated payment systems of the two banks. This process circumvents the more conventional, and often more complex, routes of international payment systems like SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) or others. The key advantage of IP Direct is its potential for swifter transaction execution and possibly lower transaction costs, due to the direct communication channel established between the banks.


Transactional Flow: In an IP Direct transaction, the ordering bank issues a payment order directly to IFB, utilizing the established nostro-vostro relationship. IFB, upon receiving this order, will then credit or debit the respective accounts as per the instructions received. This process is often streamlined and can be more efficient than standard practices, particularly for banks that have high transaction volumes or require expedited processing.

Conditions for Efficacy: For IP Direct to function optimally, several conditions must be met:

  • Robust Technological Infrastructure: Both banks must possess advanced technological systems capable of handling direct interbank communications.
  • Regulatory Compliance: The transaction must adhere to the regulatory frameworks of the jurisdictions in which both banks operate.
  • Operational Efficiency: The banks' internal processes must be aligned to facilitate these direct transactions without unnecessary delays.


Alternative Considerations: While IP Direct offers certain benefits, it's important to acknowledge potential limitations or alternatives:

  • SWIFT Network: For banks without an established nostro-vostro relationship, the SWIFT network remains a reliable, though potentially slower, alternative.
  • Blockchain Technology: Emerging technologies like blockchain and distributed ledger technology offer another alternative for international transactions, promising increased transparency and reduced costs.

API (Application Programming Interface)

Contrary to the notion many customers have an API directly facilitates the transfer of funds, an API only operates as a sophisticated conduit for communication, an interface, between various bank software systems or between the customer with the back-end server of the bank, that is not connected with the core bank system of the bank. Its role is instrumental in issuing requests/commands to a bank’s digital infrastructure through a software interlink.

  1. Request/Command Issuance and Information Retrieval: At its core, an API in the banking sector does not directly execute financial transactions. Instead, it serves as an emissary, transmitting requests from external applications to the bank’s internet edge systems. For instance, when an instruction to initiate a transaction is sent through an API, the API merely conveys this request to the bank’s transaction processing systems. The actual movement of funds is then orchestrated by the bank’s internal mechanisms, underpinned by rigorous security and compliance protocols and in communication with correspondent banks, RTGS or RTP.
  2. Secure Communication Facilitator: The paramount function of a banking API is to ensure secure and efficient communication between external applications and the bank’s internal systems. This involves both the submission of transaction requests and the retrieval of account-related information. Through the use of advanced encryption and authentication measures, APIs guarantee that these communications are both secure and accessible only to authorized entities. This role can be likened to a highly secure and efficient postal service, ensuring that messages between two parties are delivered accurately and confidentially.
  3. Enhancement of Banking Services: While the direct transfer of funds is beyond the purview of APIs, they play a crucial role in enhancing the accessibility and functionality of banking services. By facilitating the exchange of commands and information, APIs enable third-party applications to offer a wide range of banking-related services. This includes providing real-time access to account balances, transaction histories, and initiating transactions that are then processed by the bank’s own systems.
  4. Regulatory Compliance and Data Integrity: In the execution of their duties, banking APIs adhere to stringent regulatory standards designed to protect consumer data and ensure the integrity of financial transactions. They act within the boundaries of legal and regulatory frameworks, such as PSD2 in Europe, which mandate the secure and standardized sharing of financial data. This ensures that APIs contribute to the ecosystem of digital banking not as direct facilitators of fund transfers, but as secure channels for initiating transactions and accessing financial information.
  5. Enhanced Scalability: APIs allow banks and fintech companies to easily scale their operations by integrating with external services and systems.
  6. Improved Customer Experience: By leveraging APIs, financial institutions can offer a more personalized and seamless banking experience, meeting the evolving expectations of digital-savvy customers.
  7. Operational Efficiency: APIs facilitate the automation of routine tasks, thereby reducing manual errors and increasing the efficiency of banking operations
  8. Innovation and Collaboration: The open nature of APIs fosters innovation by enabling collaboration between banks, fintech startups, and other financial service providers.


In conclusion, the essence of an API in the banking domain is not to transfer funds directly but to act as a sophisticated software intermediary that communicates requests and retrieves information. It is through this secure and structured communication that APIs enrich the digital banking landscape, enabling a plethora of services while ensuring adherence to the highest standards of security and regulatory compliance.

Understanding Banking APIs more

Banking APIs act as intermediaries, allowing third-party developers and businesses to access bank functionalities and data in a secure, controlled manner. This access is pivotal for creating applications that can interact directly with a bank’s systems, thus enabling a plethora of financial services without the need to reinvent the wheel.

The Diverse Spectrum of Banking API Types

Banking APIs are broadly categorized into four main types, each serving distinct purposes and catering to various financial needs:

  1.  Core Banking APIs: These APIs focus on fundamental banking operations such as deposits, lending, and SME cross-border transactions. By providing access to these essential services, Core Banking APIs empower fintech applications to incorporate traditional banking functions seamlessly.
  2. Plug & Play APIs: Tailored for financial operations like trading and accounting routines, these APIs also include authentication services through OAuth. They are designed to be easily integrated into existing systems, facilitating swift adoption and implementation.
  3. Cards, Wallets, and Transfers APIs: This category encompasses APIs that manage SDK stock, support MultiCurrency operations, and ensure fraud monitoring among others. They are crucial for applications dealing with payments, currency exchange, and securing transactions.
  4. Acquiring APIs: Focused on payment acquisition, these APIs enable mobile payments, Near Field Communication (NFC) solutions, online card acquiring, and more. They play a significant role in expanding the avenues through which businesses can accept payments.


REST vs. SOAP: Architectural Styles in Banking APIs

In the realm of banking APIs, two principal communication paradigms prevail: 

  • REST (Representational State Transfer) an architectural style, simplifies communication by sending messages in a single direction, making it highly scalable and efficient for web services.
  • SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), on the other hand, is a protocol that enables two-way communication, offering rigorous security and error handling mechanisms. 

Both paradigms offer distinct advantages, and the choice between them depends on the specific requirements of the banking service being implemented.


Banking APIs are at the forefront of the financial sector’s digital transformation, offering a bridge between traditional banking services and innovative fintech solutions. By embracing these technological advancements, banks can not only enhance their operational efficiency and customer service but also stay competitive in an increasingly digital world. As the financial industry continues to evolve, the strategic utilization of banking APIs will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping its future.

If you want to know more about how to transfer funds or assets to your accounts with us, please get in contact with Marie Mayer.