What are SWIFT and SWIFTNet ?
The strong growth of the traffic and the evolution of the needs of the users required the setting up of innovative and adapted solutions. In 1977, the SWIFT global network was created to replace the Telex network, which was considered too slow and unsafe. At first, it worked with the Binary Synchronous Communications (BSC) protocol introduced by IBM 10 years earlier. In 1991, SWIFT network migrated to the X.25 communication protocol. The network then took the name SWIFT II. The limitations of the X.25 protocol hampered the evolution and implementation of new services. To answer this, migration to the IP protocol started in 2004. The new name, SWIFTNet, is still valid. SWIFTNet is the SWIFT network based on an IP (internet) type protocol. According to SWIFT, the migration from X.25 to IP protocol is the biggest project ever undertaken and very well executed because the customers almost did not notice it.
SWIFT allows all businesses and financial institutions to connect to their network to exchange financial messages. Each network member is identified by the BIC code, also known as the SWIFT code. You can get more information about the BIC code by reading the article about the SWIFT BIC code. It is thanks to this code that messages are routed from the sender to the recipient.
MT and MX messages are exchanged on the SWIFT network. MT messages are structured according to the specifications of the ISO 15022 standard and the newer MX messages according to the ISO 20022 standard.
Thanks to the standardization, the messages respect a specific formalism. This allows fast and automated processing.
The table below contains the list of SWIFT MT message categories:
Here is the page with exhaustive list of all SWIFT messages types. There is a search function included to help you easily find the information you are looking for.
Below are the links to posts where specific SWIFT messages are analyzed.
SWIFT Message Identifier
- When the group takes the value “0” like in MT10X, it means the message is a about transfer.
- When the group takes the value “1” like in MT11X, it means the message is a about a cheque.
- When the group takes the value “9” like in MT19X, the message belongs to common group messages that are used for cancellations, queries, advices, answers and to handle other exceptions.
The picture below depicts the identifier a SWIFT Message MT.
For MX, things are different. The identification of messages is based on the name IS0 20022. Thus the MT103 becomes MX Pacs.008 and not MX 103. You find the SWIFT MT to MX equivalence for MT1xx, MT2xx and MT9xx on the following page. The logic to name the messages identifier is different in the two standards.
The exchange of MT messages is done via the FIN service that Swift introduced at the very beginning. Over time, SWIFT has expanded its offering and now offers solutions such as InterAct or FileAct for exchanging messages and files. These protocols will be presented and analyzed in future articles.