Swift (Swift) — definition, benefits

The activity of banks is a variety of tools, which include the SWIFT transfer system. This is a unique technology that allows you to work with money transfers around the world and ensures the smooth operation of online banking.

In the global financial services market, the SWIFT money transfer system is an integral part of the functioning of banking services.

1. What is SWIFT in simple words

SWIFT (swift, from the English «SWIFT» — Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, the Community of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) is a digital code designed to transfer financial messages of banks or companies between countries, that is, at the international level, or within a particular state . The technology ensures the transfer of information by banks and companies. This is a kind of intermediary that works online and provides the exchange of financial information.

The headquarters is located in Brussels. Every day, SWIFT processes over a million financial transactions worldwide.

Who use SWIFT:


  • banks, financial institutions;
  • large, medium or small business;
  • private individuals to credit cash to foreign institutions in the learning process;
  • insurance agencies;
  • stock exchanges, as well as brokerage companies.

The phrase is written as SWIFT Code, but at the same time it is worth considering the SWIFT system itself separately, since the code is only a part of this technology created on its basis.

2. How SWIFT works

This is a cloud system, so all the operations for which it is intended are carried out online.


In general, the SWIFT system is designed to improve the efficiency of organizations, speed up their work. The technology works on the principle of rapid exchange of information between financial institutions or organizations and businesses.

The main advantages of SWIFT:


  • takes into account currency differences;
  • calculates commissions;
  • finds a correspondent account;
  • speeds up transactions;
  • has no restriction of work in any country;
  • reads any data generation standards;
  • ensures the security of transactions involving cash.

The details are searched automatically, as a result, the data exchange speed is quite high.

3. How to connect the SWIFT system

Money transfer is always non-cash. You need to contact the nearest bank that is included in the SWIFT list and create a message. The data is filled in by the sender using Latin letters.


The list of information required to generate a transfer using the SWIFT system:

  • unique code of the beneficiary’s bank, similar to the Russian BIC. You can request it in advance by contacting the support service of the recipient’s financial institution or on the website of your bank;
  • country code numbers. This is usually 2 digits;
  • it is necessary to indicate the codes of both cities between which the financial transfer is planned;
  • branch number directly. This is usually 3 digits;
  • the name, surname of an individual, or the name of a company for a legal entity, according to the rules, must be entered without abbreviations;
  • recipient’s bank account number. In international agreement format, it is referred to as IBAN;
  • currency amount of money transferred.

When entering errors are not allowed. If available:


  • transfer transaction is not possible;
  • the transfer can be made to an outsider;
  • the payment may be lost, and its search is subject to payment by the sender.

It is possible to withdraw a payment for correction if an error is detected immediately. But any additional action is paid. As a rule, the return of the operation is penalized by an amount of 20 to 100 US dollars ($).

3.1. Currency

It is allowed to use any national currency when forming a payment.

Therefore, funds can be transferred both in the currency established by the state of the recipient, and in any other. But the mismatch of currencies during the transaction will entail the participation in the transfer process of a third party — a correspondent bank, which means that you will need to pay some additional commission.

An individual SWIFT code of a third-party organization should be indicated in the sender’s message.

3.2. Commission

The percentage for using SWIFT is determined depending on the amount planned to be sent. Usually it is no more than 0.1 — 2%. Any answers regarding the final amount of the commission can be obtained from the operator before the creation of the transfer.

3.3. Timing

It takes about 1 day from the moment the data is transferred to the banking system until the funds are credited to the recipient’s bank account.

When third financial institutions participate in transactions, the data transfer time increases.

Also, the data transfer time depends on the processing speed of the recipient’s bank. The maximum waiting time for a transfer does not exceed 5 days, and the average processing time is 2 or 3 days.

3.4. Restrictions

Russian legislation, in particular Federal Law No. 1783, provides that the amount credited to a foreign bank account cannot exceed 5,000 US dollars ($) per day. The excess size of the shipment must be confirmed by official documents.

4. SWIFT system in Russia

In Russia, transfers between countries are provided in the same way as throughout the world — by the SWIFT system. The Russian analogue of this cloud technology, Treasury Systems, is planned to be developed by Rostelecom.

The decision was approved by the Russian Ministry of Finance on September 25, 2019.

It is assumed that Treasury Systems will be able to connect any organization with any financial structure in Russia or the world, even if it is not included in the SWIFT list. This means that the Russian analogue will become technologically one level higher than the SWIFT that operates today in the global financial market.

See also the video «Peculiarities of transfers through the SWIFT system»:

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