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How the SWIFT System Works

How the SWIFT System Works

investopedia.com

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The SWIFT Money Transfer System

Today, it is easy to walk into a bank and transfer money anywhere around the globe, but how does this happen? Behind most international money and security transfers is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SW...

Key Points

  • Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) is a member-owned cooperative that provides safe and secure financial transactions for its members.
  • This payment network allows individuals and businesses to take electronic or card payments even if the customer ...

The SWIFT Transaction Code

SWIFT assigns each financial organization a unique code that has either eight characters or 11 characters. The code is interchangeably called the bank identifier code (BIC), SWIFT code, SWIFT ID, or ISO 9362 code.

It is broken down as follows:

  • The first four characters: the in...

The World Before SWIFT

Prior to SWIFT, Telex was the only available means of message confirmation for international funds transfers. Telex was hampered by low speed, security concerns, and a free message format. Telex senders had to describe every transaction in sentences that were then interpreted and executed by the...

The Dominance Of SWIFT

Although there are other message services like Fedwire, Ripple, and Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS), SWIFT continues to retain its dominant position in the market. Its success is attributed to how it continually adds new message codes to transmit different financial transactions....

The Users Of SWIFT

Initially, SWIFT founders designed the network to facilitate communication about Treasury and correspondent transactions only. The robustness of the message format design allowed huge scalability through which SWIFT gradually expanded to provide services to the following:

  • Banks
  • ...

Services Offered by SWIFT

The SWIFT system offers many services that assist businesses and individuals to complete seamless and accurate business transactions. Some of the services offered are listed below.

  • Applications for processing clearing and settlement instructions for payments, securities, forex, and

The Commercial Aspects Of SWIFT

  • SWIFT is a cooperative society owned by its members. All members pay a one-time joining fee plus annual support charges which vary by member class.
  • SWIFT also charges users for each message based on message type and length. These charges also vary depending upon the bank’s usage v...

The majority of SWIFT clients have huge transactional volumes for which manual entry of instructions is not practical. The need for automation for SWIFT message creation, processing, and transmission is growing. However, this comes at a cost and increased operational overhead.

Although SWI...

SWIFT has retained its dominant position in the global processing of transactional messages. It has recently forayed into other areas, such as offering reporting utilities and data for business intelligence, which indicates its willingness to remain innovative. In the short- to mid-term, SWIFT se...

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