The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication
SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a member-owned cooperative through which the financial world conducts its business operations with speed, certainty and confidence. More than 9,000 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in 209 countries trust it every day to exchange millions of standardised financial messages.
SWIFT provides a centralized store-and-forward mechanism, with some transaction management. For bank A to send a message to bank B with a copy or authorization with institution C, it formats the message according to standard, and securely sends it to SWIFT. SWIFT guarantees its secure and reliable delivery to B after the appropriate action by C. SWIFT guarantees are based primarily on high redundancy of hardware, software, and people.
SWIFT enables its customers to automate and standardise financial transactions, thereby lowering costs, reducing operational risk and eliminating inefficiencies from their operations. By using SWIFT customers can also create new business opportunities and revenue streams. SWIFT does not hold funds nor does it manage accounts on behalf of customers, nor does it store financial information on an on-going basis. This activity involves the secure exchange of proprietary data while ensuring its confidentiality and integrity.
SWIFT also offer a secure person-to-person messaging service, SWIFTNet Mail, which went live on 16 May 2007. SWIFT clients can configure their existing email infrastructure to pass email messages through the highly secure and reliable SWIFTNet network instead of the open Internet. Eight financial institutions, including HSBC, FirstRand Bank, Clearstream, DnB NOR, Nedbank, Standard Bank of South Africa and Bear Stearns, as well as SWIFT piloted the service.