What is SWIFT?

SWIFT is a global payment network that 3S Money uses to facilitate high-value international money transfers.

At 3S Money, it costs $0 to receive a SWIFT payment, and $1 to send one through our International Business Account (you can check if you're eligible for one here).

Discover why SWIFT remains a trusted payment provider below. 


Sometimes international money transfers can feel complex and confusing - but they don't need to be. At 3S Money, we like to keep things as simple as possible, giving you all the information you need to make an informed decision. So if you want to know what a SWIFT payment is, you’re in the right place.


SWIFT, or The Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is the name of an international payment network consisting of over 11,000 financial institutions around the globe. 


Originally founded in 1973, SWIFT has now become the main method for sending money across borders in a safe, secure, and fast manner. Every day there are tens of millions of SWIFT transactions around the world.

What is a SWIFT code?


A SWIFT code is a standardised format for a Bank Identifier Code (BIC). This allows banks and financial institutions around the world to be correctly identified.

The code consists of a series of 8-11 characters that, when combined identifies the bank, the specific branch, and its location (country and city).

A SWIFT code is used for international wire transfers and are also used when banks exchange messages with each other. 


A SWIFT code is formatted into four sections of letters and numbers in the following order:


Your SWIFT code will usually be found on your bank account statements, either on a paper copy or in your online banking. There are also online SWIFT code finders.

How long does a SWIFT payment take?

A SWIFT payment usually takes two to five working days to complete, but can sometimes take longer due to time zone differences.

As intermediary banks are sometimes used to complete the transaction, this can also delay the payment. This is usually the case when your bank doesn’t have a direct relationship with the bank you’re sending money to.


Another important thing to remember is that SWIFT payments come with fees involved. These vary from bank to bank and transaction to transaction. Factors that dictate the fee for a SWIFT payment include: 

  • The transfer fee

  • Recipient fee

  • Intermediary fees (if the transaction has to involve an intermediary bank to complete the transfer)

  • Exchange rates (dependant on the size of the transaction and current exchange rates at the time of transfer)

Do I need both an IBAN and a SWIFT code? 

You don’t need to use a SWIFT and an IBAN to make or receive a payment, but an IBAN is useful for providing additional information when conducting international transactions. 


Your IBAN (which stands for International Bank Account Number) is a unique identifier that standardises your account number, sort code, and information about the bank.


An IBAN helps speed up transaction time and also minimises the risks of errors in transactions.


If you run a business and have to send and receive money overseas, you can find out if you’re eligible for an International Business Account here


First published: 21/01/2022.
Updated on 08/02/2022.

Last updated: 07/07/23

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© 3S Money Club Limited 2019-2024. All rights reserved. 3S Money and 3s.money are trading names of 3S Money Club Limited. 3S Money Club Limited is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 for issuing of electronic money and the provision of payment services with FCA registration number 900918. 3S Money Club Limited is registered in England and Wales, Company Number 8574246, with its registered office address at 45 Folgate Street, London, E1 6GL, United Kingdom. 3S Money Club Limited is registered with The United Kingdom Information Commissioner's Office with ICO registration number ZA495485. 3S Money Club Limited (DIFC Branch) is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) with DFSA reference number F007004, authorising it under Article 48 of the Regulatory Law 2004 to carry on the Financial Services comprised in Issuing Payment Instruments and Providing or Operating a Payment Account. 3S Money Club Limited (DIFC Branch) is registered in Dubai International Financial Centre, Licence Number CL5587, with its registered office address at Central Park Towers, office 20-54, DIFC, Dubai, UAE. 3S Money (Luxembourg) S.A. is authorised by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) under the law of 10 November 2009 on payment services for issuing, distribution and refund of electronic money with CSSF registration number W00000016. 3S Money (Luxembourg) S.A. is registered in Luxembourg, R.C.S number B245715, with its registered office address at 25C, Boulevard Royal, L- 2449, Luxembourg, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg