What is Swift?

SWIFT stands for Society for World-wide Inter-bank Financial Telecommunications and is an international organization. It provides means of secure communications between Banks and its members. Membership to the society is regulated and only vetted applicants are permitted to use the system at varying access levels.

  1. – It ensures that banks can communicate with each other and provided validation and verification checks on their communications. It operates largely as a database of varying levels of communication and transmittance of financial documents and messages. Physical documents cannot be sent by SWIFT.
  2. – To be able to send and receive authenticated SWIFT messages one must be accepted and subscribed to the Society.
  3. – Banks will have a trained SWIFT operator responsible for the management of SWIFT messages, both out-bound and in-bound. In smaller Private Banks, this may be one single individual. Larger banks will have SWIFT operator departments.

Each SWIFT message will have a Message Type (or MT) depending on the database field. For example, MT 100 relates to cash transfers and the sending of client funds between banks. MT 700 relates to Documentary Letters of Credit and MT760 relates to Guarantees.

Sample of MT760

  1. – It is important to not complicate or refer to these SWIFT Message Types in professional communications since it will not concern either the client or recipient and is meant for inter-bank communication only.
  2. – In dealing in Bank Guarantees (Demand Guarantees), one may hear the phrase ‘MT799’ or ‘MT999’ or ‘MT199’.
  3. – This is the SWIFT Message Types that Bank Guarantees can communicate authenticated free format messages securely.

Inter-communicating banks may use this Message Type on their SWIFT systems to communicate various types of messages and offer pre-advice or ready willing and able-ness of intended parties in transactions. These Message Types are free format, meaning they allow the Operator to type freely various different messages connected with the transaction.

TFC can arrange the issuance of such swift messages from Financial Institutions for a fee after full submission of documents required.

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