What is SWIFT and why do we use it?

March 15, 2022

We live in a globalised, digital world and the need for sending payments from bank to bank and internationally has grown exponentially. SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), is the network that we use to facilitate this and it is one of the most used and trusted in the industry. In 2019, more than 11,000 SWIFT member institutions sent approximately 33.6 million transactions per day through the network.

As always with EWG, transparency is key, so we wanted to explain exactly how SWIFT payments work.

Considered a best practice tool, SWIFT is fully secure and compliant, offering reporting and utilities like Know Your Customer (KYC), Sanctions, and Anti-Money Laundering. But how does it actually work?

SWIFT has a network of banking organisations, and, at its core, it uses codes to communicate payments between them, providing a secure, reliable, and scalable network for the smooth relay of these messages.

SWIFT payments are communications that allow you to send and receive electronic payments internationally. The SWIFT network doesn’t actually transfer funds but instead, sends payment orders between banks using SWIFT codes so money can be sent internationally quickly and securely. Once a message and code is received by a bank, money from one account is transferred to the required account via the banks' commercial accounts.

This is a powerful tool, enabling business to be conducted all over the world, every day. But at its core, it is a messaging system – it does not hold any funds and it does not manage any client accounts.

We use SWIFT because we believe it helps us provide our clients with the best possible service. Safe, secure and fast, we are able to use SWIFT to facilitate a wide range of services from international payments to crew payments, currency management services and multi-currency accounts, all with a global reach.

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