SWIFT - Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication

If you are conducting electronic discovery for a client in the financial industry be sure to inquire as to whether or not they use SWIFT messaging. SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The SWIFT network allows for the secure exchange of information in a standardized format. Most messages exchanged between banks are SWIFT messages.

SWIFTNet Mail has been in use since 2007. It can transmit both emails and attachments using a business's existing email client. The messages get transmitted via the SWIFT network rather than the open internet.

SWIFT is also the authority that registers Bank Indentifier Codes for financial institutions under ISO 9362.

A SWIFT message may look something like this:

{1:F01MIDLGB22AXXX0548034693}{2:I103BKTRUS33XBRDN3}{3:{108:MT103}}{4: :20:8861198-0706 :23B:CRED :32A:000612USD5443,99 :33B:USD5443,99 :50K:GIAN ANGELO IMPORTS NAPLES :52A:BCITITMM500 :53A:BCITUS33 :54A:IRVTUS3N :57A:BNPAFRPPGRE :59:/20041010050500001M02606 KILLY S.A. GRENOBLE :70:/RFB/INVOICE 559661 :71A:SHA -}

In the header, in block 2, the characters after {2,:


. . . will provide us with some basic information about the SWIFT message.

{2:I The I indicates that this is an 'input' message. It's the sender's message. This character would be an O - an output message if it was a recipient's message.


The 103 indicates the message type. See the chart posted here. There are different codes for different types of financial communications. 103 indicates this is a MT 103 message concerning a single customer credit transfer.


BKTRUS33 is the BIC, Bank Identifier Code, for the Deutsche Bank Trust Company. X in conjunction with the BIC is the logical terminal code. BRD is the recipients branch code.


N indicates the message's priority. This message is a normal one. A U would indicate that it was an urgent message.


The 3 indicates a warning will be sent if a message is not delivered, and a notification will be sent if delivery succeeds. A 1 in this place would mean a warning would only be sent in the case of non-delivery, and there would be no notification for a successful delivery; a 2 would indicate the opposite.