Despite the wide publicity given to the digitalisation of letters of credit (L/Cs) and other digital trade finance services, a surprisingly low proportion of the more than 7,000 respondents in Euromoney's annual trade finance survey are actually using new technologies.

Asked about their usage of digital trade finance products in the Euromoney Trade Finance Survey 2018, only a handful of group treasurers and chief financial officers said they were already operational.

L/C implications

Swift's MT798 gained the highest response rate, with 28 per cent of respondents saying they used the multi-bank messaging facility for import, export and standby L/Cs.

The Bank Payment Obligation, seen by some as falling midway between open account and L/C transactions, gained the second highest response rate with 23 per cent of respondents saying they use the product. Electronic bills of lading were used by 20 per cent of respondents.


The use of blockchain or distributed ledger technology has yet to take off in a big way according to the survey.

Only six per cent of survey respondents said they had used blockchain technology.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.