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One-minute guide to understanding SWIFT transfers

One-minute guide to understanding SWIFT transfers
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First Published: Tue, Apr 26 2011. 09 38 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Apr 26 2011. 09 38 PM IST
Who am I?
I stand for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. I am a member-owned cooperative through which most of the global financial world conducts its international business operations. I am headquartered in Brussels and was also incorporated in Belgium, so The National Bank of Belgium (NBB) acts as the lead overseer. India was the 74th country to join my network on 2 December 1991.
How am I relevant to you?
International remittance was earlier done though telegraphic transfers or demand drafts but now the platform provided by me has gathered momentum and international fund transfers are routed through it. However, only the remittance messages flow through me, the funds flow through the nostro and vostro accounts of banks, which are accounts banks hold with each other.
How do you remit money through me?
In order to remit money abroad through me, just walk into your bank branch and fill in the A2 form (foreign exchange declaration-cum-remittance form). You need to know the SWIFT code of the beneficiary’s bank branch, his complete name, address and account number. You will also have to fill in the purpose of remittance. As the entire system is automated, it is very important to get these details right as even a small mismatch will disable the transfer and you may even have to bear a penalty for it.
How much time does the fund transfer take?
Communication through me can take place 24x7. So if both you and the receiver have accounts with bigger and well-established banks and you initiate the request during the working hours of both the banks, then the money can be transferred almost instantly. The remitting bank uses me to transmit the message to the beneficiary’s bank and the money is credited to the account as soon as the beneficiary’s bank receives the message. If the banks are shut when the message is transmitted, then you will have to bear with some delay. In any case fund transfer takes a maximum of two days.
How much do i cost?
The cost varies according to the source and destination, amount and the arrangements that the two banks have with each other. Both the remitting and receiving bank could levy fees and if the funds go through a correspondent bank, then the intermediary could have its own share of fees as well. Most banks, such as Axis Bank Ltd and Yes Bank Ltd would charge you anything between Rs 500 and Rs 1,500. Some banks such as Citibank would charge you a flat fee of Rs 250 or Rs 500 depending on different factors. Certain banks could charge you up to Rs 2,500. Remember that this is exclusive of what the beneficiary’s bank will charge at the other end.
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First Published: Tue, Apr 26 2011. 09 38 PM IST