SWIFT The global provider of secure financial
messaging services

Interbank payments for correspondent banking

Reliable, efficient and compliant clearing and settlement messaging for interbank payments


  • International standard
  • Global reach to over 9,000 institutions
  • STP rates above 90%
  • Common SLAs and market practice rules
  • Communication exclusively with business relationships
  • Compliant with regulations

SWIFT’s solution for correspondent banking is designed to support banks’ needs for bilateral clearing and settlement of interbank payments, typically cross-border payments with medium to large value.

The solution combines international fund transfer standards based on MT messages, with common Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and market practices. It uses reference data directory services to improve end-to-end straight-through processing rates. This combination ensures minimum business interoperability and reduces risks related to manual errors or mis-understanding.

The underlying messaging platform, FIN, can validate and deliver critical payments safely and timely to more than 9,000 counterparties in more than 200 countries. Risk mitigation, reliability and high security are particularly important to fulfill correspondent banking agreements or comply with national Central Bank requirements.


SWIFT works closely with the ISO standardization body and payments industry forums such as the Payments Market Practice Group (PMPG) or the European Payments Council (SEPA) to define standards and best market practices in the payments business. The end-to-end payment transactions standards cover the needs of the correspondent banking business area as follows:

Individual Message Types (MTs) for financial institution payments and cash management

  • Single Customer Credit Transfer (MT 103, MT 103+)
  • Related cover messages (MT 202 COV, MT 205 COV)
  • Financial institution transfers (MT 202, MT 203, MT 200, MT 201)
  • Nostro reconciliation and referencing (MT 900, MT 910, MT 950)
  • Charges (MT n90, MT n91)

Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
To reflect market practices in the correspondent banking business area.

To address an increasing need for end-to-end  transaction life-cycle processing with  richer and flexible messages, SWIFT developed business transaction models based on XML messages (ISO 20022) and has rolled out solutions supporting these models for the payments business areas: cash reporting, exceptions and investigations, workers’ remittances, retail payments


SWIFT offers a set of directories to automate the payments process and achieve higher straight-through-processing rates:

BIC Directory

to identify a bank with a unique Bank Identifier  Code (ISO 9362) 

IBAN Registry and validation

to register formats and rules for account number uniquely based on the IBAN code (ISO 13616) and validate accounts based on these rules.

SEPA Routing Directory

to identify banks that have adhered to SEPA and route payments efficiently according to their clearing channels

BICPlusIBAN directory

to identify BICs from a respective IBAN according to national and international accounts identification rules.

Countries, currencies, holidays directory

to identify the time zones, the country codes (ISO 3166), payments system cut-off times, payment cancellation rules and stop payments of cheques rules, value date rules, the currency codes (ISO 4217), the banking holidays.


The FIN platform offers message validation, non repudiation proofs as well as retrieval capabilities for conflict resolution, lost data recovery or audit compliance in the context of anti-money laundering and KYC requirements. The FINCopy and FINInform value-added features enable the automatic duplication of selected messages to a third party, such as the bank’s headquarters for centralised payment monitoring.


Several SWIFT infrastructure options are possible:

  • Operate your own SWIFT infrastructure: list of SWIFTNet qualified interfaces and network partners
  • Access SWIFT via the infrastructure of a SWIFT member institution
  • Outsource your SWIFT interface to a third party operator, called Service Bureau

SWIFT works in partnership with third-party application vendors to ensure smooth and fast integration:

More information

For further details please contact your SWIFT Regional Account Manager or your nearest SWIFT office.