This information is provided by Prowide as a quick introduction to the SWIFT standard. For detail information please check out www.swift.com
The acronym stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications. SWIFT is a cooperative society under Belgian law and it is owned by its member financial institutions. It has offices around the world, and SWIFT headquarters are in La Hulpe, Belgium, near Brussels.
It mainly provides a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment.
Each financial institution, to exchange banking transactions, must have a banking relationship by either being a bank or affiliating itself with one (or more).
The organizations types that can access the service are: Banks, Trading Institutions, Money Brokers, Securities Broker Dealers, Investment Management Institutions, Clearing Systems and Central Depositories, Recognised Exchanges, Trust and Fiduciary Service Companies, Subsidiary Providers of Custody and Nominees, Treasury Counterparties, Treasury ETC Service Providers and Corporates.
SWIFT has become the industry standard for syntax in financial messages. Messages formatted to SWIFT standards can be read by, and processed by, many well-known financial processing systems, whether or not the message traveled over the SWIFT network.
The SWIFT network support two message standards: MT (ISO 15022) and MX (ISO 20022). The MT being based on a proprietary format, composed by boundary delimited blocks. And the new MX standard in XML syntax.