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.
The term SWIFT is normally used indistinctly to reference the society, the network, the system, and the message protocol.
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): based on a proprietary format, composed of boundary delimited blocks, also knonw as FIN
- MX (ISO 20022): the new SWIFT standard based on XML syntax.
The following section describes the MT message structure.
SWIFT MT messages are identified by a 3-digit number, the first digit representing the Category and the following
two representing the specific message inside the category.
The categories are:
|Financial Institution Transfers||MT2nn|
|MT3nn - FX, Money Market & Derivatives||MT3nn|
|Collections and cash letters||MT4nn|
|Precious Metals & Syndications||MT6nn|
|Documentary Credits & Guarantees||MT7nn|
|Cash Management & Customer Status||MT9nn|