SWIFT The global provider of secure financial
messaging services

SWIFT history


More than 10,800 live users
From more than 200 countries and territories
Over 5.6 billion messages

2014 — Delivering for our Community

SWIFT completes the Distributed Architecture programme to add an additional level of resilience and made strong progress on FIN renewal. We succeeded in reducing messaging fees by 50% since 2010. SWIFT underscored its ambitions in the Compliance sector by launching The KYC Registry and acquiring Omnicision, a leading provider of financial crime prevention services and solutions. SWIFT leads on innovation as we enter the real-time payments market and launch the SWIFT India joint venture to support the Indian Community with domestic messaging. Sibos is held in Boston.


More than 10,500 live users
From more than 200 countries and territories
Over 5 billion messages

2013 — Excellence, Communities, Innovation

A year of anniversaries: SWIFT turns 40; Standards Forum turns 10; Innotribe turns 5; and Sibos, which is held in Dubai, turns 35. New operating centre opens in Switzerland. New corporate services centre opens in Kuala Lumpur. In 2013, we’ll continue to invest in, and innovate our core; expand our commercial offering; innovate our offering to market infrastructures; and work to capture growth opportunities in Asia.

10,279 live users
212 countries YTD
4,589,109,272 messages

2012 — SWIFT embraces change

Gottfried Leibbrandt, Head of Marketing, succeeds Lázaro Campos as CEO of SWIFT on 1 July. SWIFT welcomes its first ever board member from China. Milestone of 20 million messages is reached on 31 May. More than 1,000 Corporates on the SWIFT network. More than 100 customers use Alliance Lite2, a new cloud-based connection. Strong take-up for Sanctions Screening, and the successful launch of Sanctions Testing. SWIFT appointed as supplier for Target2 Securities. Pursuing interoperability, particularly in the domain of market infrastructures. Growth and expansion of Business Intelligence portfolio, including the launch of Watch Insights. The launch of MyStandards, a collaborative web-based tool for the management of global standards and related market practices. CO2 emissions reduced by 60% in last five years. Sibos is held in Osaka.

10,118 live users
210 countries
4,431,099,899 messages

2011 — A stronger and more innovative SWIFT

Launch of SWIFTRemit, the first truly global platform for person-to-person payments solution providing cost-efficient framework and consistent service quality. SWIFT launches SWIFTRef, a family of products that aims to eliminate costly payment errors arising from bad data, and increase straight-through-processing. Launch of SWIFT Index, a new global economic barometer that can act as an advance indicator of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Five new market infrastructures in Latin America join SWIFT. Innotribe Mumbai, 200 delegates explored the specific issue of the future of mobile banking for the ‘unbanked’. Construction of OPC CH started. The FIN Renewal programme is progressing to schedule with the communications infrastructure completed in 2011. SWIFT is awarded the Solidaritest Award for Business in recognition of SWIFT’s social initiatives. India and Korea, 20 years on SWIFT. SWIFT increases impetus behind Go Local initiatives. Sibos is held in Toronto.

9,705 live users
209 countries
4,031,935,296 messages

2010 — First acquisition in SWIFT history

SWIFT acquires Sungard’s AMH business named Arkelis, which extends SWIFT’s portfolio in high-end messaging and services. 30,000 laptops deployed to date in collaboration with One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). Kick off of SWIFT2015 strategy. 3SKey is introduced to help corporate treasurers manage all their banking relationships with a single, multi-network personal digital identity. SWIFT publishes ‘ISO 20022 for Dummies’, more than 15,000 copies are distributed by the end of 2010. ISO 15022 message standards are certified as Sharia-compliant for Islamic Finance. 30 years anniversary of SWIFT in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.  Biggest ever Sibos: 8,900 attendees in Amsterdam.

9,281 live users
209 countries
3,760,000,000 messages

2009 — Efficiency is paramount

SWIFT opens Seoul office. Launch of Innotribe to enable collaborative innovation in financial services. 400 organisations order Alliance Lite. SWIFT works directly with customers and partners such as Bloomberg to develop new products and services. Launch of Standards Developer Kit, which makes it cheaper and more efficient to build and maintain standards implementation for both ISO 20022 and MT messages. Sibos is held in Hong Kong.

  8,830 live users
209 countries
3,855,000,000 messages

2008 — A smarter and simpler SWIFT

Distributed Architecture programme completes Phase One successfully. Launch of Alliance Lite, a complete solution giving rapid access to the SWIFT network. Launch of Alliance Integrator, a new product that reduces the effort for customers moving additional business flows onto SWIFT and reduces the work involved in implementing the yearly standards release. SWIFT records two peaks in the same week in the message traffic 16,327,668 messages on Wednesday 23 January and 16,550,075 messages on Friday 25 January: a first in SWIFT history. First live SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) Credit Transfers is sent from major European banks over SWIFTNet on 28 January 2008. SWIFT celebrates its 35th anniversary. Sibos is held in Vienna.

8,332 live users
208 countries
3,501,000,000 messages

2007 — SWIFT welcomes its new CEO

Lázaro Campos, formerly SWIFT Executive Committee member and Head of the Banking Industry Division, succeeds Leonard H. Schrank as Chief Executive Officer in April 2007. SWIFT reorganises the company operationally and regionally in order to meet specific customer requirements. SWIFT introduces a new pricing model to reflect the diversity of its customers. SWIFT approves the development and deployment of a new multi-zonal messaging architecture resulting in a new OPC in Switzerland and a new command center in Hong-Kong. SWIFT opens four new offices: SWIFT Brazil, SWIFT Mumbai, SWIFT Dubai and SWIFT Johannesburg. SWIFT supports the “One Laptop Per Child” initiative, an international and community oriented programme providing the world's poorest children with simple, durable educational computers. Sibos is held in Boston.

8,105 live users
207 countries
2,865,000,000 messages

2006 — SWIFT 2010 supports community ambition

SWIFT community mourns loss of Carl Reuterskiöld, SWIFT’s first CEO. SWIFTNet Trade Services Utility enters pilot phase. Successful start of SWIFTNet Phase 2 pilot. Year of preparation for TARGET2. SWIFT AGM overwhelmingly approves new corporate category. Sibos is held in Sydney.

7,863 live users
204 countries
2,518,000,000 messages

2005 — SWIFT supports industry transformation

SWIFT focuses industry attention on Giovannini Barrier One. TARGET2 chooses SWIFTNet. SWIFTNet Trade Services Utility lines up key pilot banks. SWIFT cuts prices by 8 percent and announces new pricing initiatives. SWIFT wins 2005 ICT Trends award for SWIFTWatch products. X.25 network dismantled. SAP joins over 300 solution providers including IBM, Microsoft and Oracle and announces the company will SWIFT-enable its ERP. SWIFT on target to reduce pricing by 50% by end 2006. Sibos is held in Copenhagen.

7,667 live users
202 countries
2,299,000,000 messages

2004 — Community migrates to SWIFTNet IP platform

SWIFTNet migration completed. Corporates are high on the agenda at Sibos 2004. SWIFT Honoured with “Dream Team Award” World’s second largest pension fund adopts SWIFTNet FileAct. ISO 20022 is published and deployment gets underway. Sibos is held in Atlanta.

7,527 live users
200 countries
2,047,000,000 messages

2003 — SWIFT turns 30!

Austria adopts SWIFTNet for its domestic payments system. SWIFTNet migration starts with first country window migrations. ISO 15022 migration completed. Italian RTGS moves to SWIFTNet services. SWIFT community reaches 200 countries. MT 103 migration completed. SWIFT yearly traffic reaches the two billion FIN message mark, doubling in volume since 1999. Sibos is held in Singapore.

7,601 live users
198 countries
1,817,000,000 messages

2002 — First SWIFTNet FIN message sent

On 15 August 2002, SWIFTNet Release 4.0 went live and concurrently the first SWIFTNet FIN message was sent. This date was targeted nearly two years ago and marked the beginning of the SWIFTNet migration. SWIFT successfully drives ISO 15022 migration. Sibos is held in Geneva.

7,457 live users
196 countries
1,534,000,000 messages 

2001 — SWIFTNet goes live

Single-window access to and for the global financial industry is the ambition underpinning SWIFTNet. In 2001, SWIFTNet messaging services saw their first fully live implementations by domestic market infrastructures: the Bundesbank’s RTGSPlus system and the Bank of England’s Enquiry Link. SWIFT focuses on developing its first SWIFTNet business solutions. Sibos in Singapore is cancelled following the September 11 attacks.

7,125 live users
192 countries
1,274,000,000 messages 

2000 — SWIFT's 'e' future takes shape

SWIFT announces plans for two services which extend the reputation of financial institutions for trust and payments into the business-to-business domain. SIPN, SWIFTNet Link and SWIFTNet PKI, SWIFTNet Interact are deployed while new XML standards methodology is being developed. swift.com is rebuilt and work begins for the e-enabling of customer activities such as ordering and billing. Sibos is held in San Francisco.

  6,797 live users
189 countries
1,059,000,000 messages

1999 — SWIFT leads and delivers

SWIFT starts the year with euro changeover and ends it ready for Y2K. Inbetween it launches Bolero and wins the GSTPA bid. Development of its next generation standards and its e-commerce strategy begins. SWIFT's FIN messaging service delivers its highest recorded availability: 99.98%. Sibos is held in Munich.

  6,557 live users
178 countries
937,000,000 messages

1998 — Renewing SWIFT for the future

The SWIFT Board transforms the Securities Board Task Force into the Securities Steering Council. Non-banks — investment managers and securities brokers — are invited to join the Council. First SWIFT Prize "linking people through technology" is awarded. Sibos is held in Helsinki.

  6,176 live users
164 countries
812,000,000 messages 

1997 — Building for tomorrow — Announcement of SWIFTNet

SWIFT increases connectivity, grows FIN traffic, progresses STP and supports market infrastructure initiatives in clearing and settlement and trade. It also announces plans to develop a family of IP-based products and services. Our office in Sydney opens and Sibos is held in...Sydney.

  5,632 live users
151 countries
688,000,000 messages

1996 — Reducing costs, managing risk, improving automation

SWIFT steps up its straight-through processing (STP) drive with a dedicated team and solutions that address the root causes of non-STP-compliant messages. We deliver the new Ecu Banking Netting Service. On 1 October we pass the 3 million messages milestone per day. Sibos is held in Florence.

  5,229 live users
137 countries
603,000,000 messages

1995 — Entering a new era

SWIFT opens its Frankfurt office, bringing it closer to its customers in Germany. The new Asia-Pacific Council, representing the SWIFT needs of the ever expanding Asia-Pacific region, meets for the first time in Beijing. Sibos is held in Copenhagen.

  4,625 live users
126 countries
518,000,000 messages

1994 — Adding value for the customer

A busy year for SWIFT, an excellent year for its customers. AccordWorkstation, SWIFTAsset Reconciliation, SWIFTAlliance, and USE deployment are a few of many new products and services launched. Infrastructure projects become an increasingly important part of SWIFT's work. Sibos 1994 is held in Boston.

  3,986 live users
106 countries
457,000,000 messages

1993 — A new vision — a new reality

SWIFT brings the benefits of speed, reliability, security and standardisation to an additional 404 users in 12 new countries. Security and data integrity are strengthened by introducing smart cards for log-in and bilateral key exchange via the network. A new UNIX-based interface is launched. SWIFTAlliance responds to customers’ needs for multinetwork, single platform processing capabilities. Sibos is held in Geneva.

  3,582 customers
94 countries
405,541,000 messages

1992 — Exceeding our targets

Leonard H. Schrank becomes CEO of SWIFT. After the successful completion of the pilot scheme during the first half of the year, the Interbank File Transfer (IFT) service goes live on 1 July. By year end, 65 banks have signed up for the service to handle a range of bulk data transfers including mass payments, cheque truncation and internal reporting. The number of SWIFT customers increase by 11% and operational countries grew 15% compared to the previous year. Sibos is held in Brussels.

  3,243 customers
87 countries
365,159,000 messages

1991 — Smithsonian recognises SWIFT

SWIFT receives the Computerworld Smithsonian Information technology Award for its work in the field of standardised financial telecommunication, recognising that without its system, financial institutions would be reduced to an unwieldy combination of paperwork and incompatible private networks, restricting their ability to service the international financial flows. Jacques Cerveau briefly serves as acting CEO. Sibos is held in Hong Kong.

  3,049 customers
83 countries
332,895,000 messages

1990 — Sibos visits Berlin

Sibos is held in Berlin. Delegates examined the practical considerations of emerging business trends such as Electronic Data Interchange and Interbank File Transfer and discuss major issues in the automation of securities operations.

  2,814 customers
78 countries
296,070,000 messages

1989 — SWIFT as a forum for the financial community

The User group Chairperson's gathering in Brussels typifies the role SWIFT plays in providing national and international forums for addressing standards issues and operational and user requirements. Sibos is held in Stockholm.

  2,537 customers
76 countries
255,111,000 messages

1988 — Total support environment created

To back up the frontline telephone support, SWIFT creates a dedicated support team to resolve complex user problems. Sibos is held in Vienna.

  2,360 customers
64 countries
222,300,000 messages

1987 — SWIFT goes into securities

SWIFT's membership votes to expand the user base by including broker dealers, exchanges, central depositories and clearing institutions. The first BIC directory is issued. Sibos is held in Montreal.

  2,161 customers
61 countries
192,010,000 messages

1986 — Launch of value-added services

SWIFT develops the Ecu Netting system for the Ecu Banking Association. The service is provided through a new subsidiary, SWIFT Service Partners. Confirmation matching through the Accord service will follow. Sibos is held in Nice. 

  1,946 customers
58 countries
157,220,000 messages

1985 — Satellite communication enhances services

SWIFT installs a high-volume satellite link between its Operating Centres to support traffic growth. Sibos is held in Brighton.

  1,188 customers
54 countries
129,900,000 messages

1984 — Knowledge for the future

SWIFT upgrades its customer education services and introduces instructor-led, computer-based and tailor-made courses. Sibos is held in Barcelona.

  1,046 customers
52 countries
104,100,000 messages

1983 — 1,000th member

Banque Nationale de Belgique becomes the 1,000th member. The connection of central banks reinforces SWIFT's position as the common link between all parties in the banking industry. Bessel Kok succeeds Carl Reuterskiöld as Chief Executive Officer of SWIFT. Sibos is held in Montreux.

  1,017 customers
44 countries
79,900,000 messages

1982 — Financial stability achieved

Revenues from membership growth, traffic and geographical expansion exceed operating costs for the first time. Expansion of SWIFT service capabilities continues through the introduction of message text standards for certain interbank securities transactions. The fifth Sibos is held for the first time outside Europe in Washington, D.C. (USA).

  900 customers
40 countries
62,500,000 messages

1981 — ST100 interface introduced

SWIFT introduces the ST100 interface. Provision of interfaces and software is now handled through a wholly owned subsidiary, SWIFT Terminal Services. Sibos is held in Düsseldorf.

  768 customers
36 countries
46,900,000 messages

1980 — First Asian countries connect

Hong Kong and Singapore start live operations. Sibos is held in Copenhagen.

  683 customers
30 countries
34,500,000 messages

1979 — Opening of North American operating centre

The scope of SWIFT services is constantly under review. Considerable efforts continue to be made in the Working Groups as they dealt with collections, documentrary credits, reconciliation, securities, standards interpretation, and warning messages. Sibos is held in Amsterdam.

  586 customers
25 countries
21,600,000 messages

1978 — Our first ten million messages

SWIFT's on-going success is confirmed as the accumulated total of processed messages passes 10 million after less than 12 months of activity. Even the most optimistic of growth forecasts is exceeded. To maintain contact with the growing user base the first SIBOS is held in Brussels with 300 participants.

  518 customers
22 countries
3,400,000 messages

1977 — SWIFT goes live

Albert, Prince of Belgium, sends the first message. The initial group of members has grown to 518 commercial banks in 22 countries.

  515 customers
17 countries
0 messages

1976 — First operating centres open

Significant progress towards live operations continues with the opening of the first operating centres. Each has its own redundant facilities and is capable of backing up the other to ensure high system availability.

  515 customers
17 countries
0 messages

1975 — Emphasis on security and reliability

Rules defining responsibility and liability are written, operational practices put in place. Fundamental principles behind SWIFT are established at an early stage.

503 customers
17 countries
0 messages

1974 — Partnership principles established

Financial institutions planning to use SWIFT for messages are heavily involved in the development process, ensuring effectiveness and practicality.

  239 members
15 countries
0 messages

1973 — SWIFT is born

Forty square metres of office space in the centre of Brussels, a handful of people and an ambitious idea. Supported by 239 banks in 15 countries, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) starts the mission of creating a shared worldwide data processing and communications link and a common language for international financial transactions. Carl Reuterskiöld is SWIFT’s first Chief Executive Officer.