A guide to telegraphic transfers?

Telegraphic transfers, also known as TT or telex transfers, are a way of transferring funds electronically from one bank account to another. Traditionally, telegraphic transfers referred to sending printed messages overseas via cable, but today the term is synonymous with online money transfers.

As a result, people who use the term ‘telegraphic transfer’ could be referring to a variety of online money transfer methods such as SWIFT or CHAPS transfers.

What’s the difference between SWIFT and CHAPS payments?

SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) is the most popular method for sending payments abroad today. Each bank has a unique SWIFT code, which can be found on bank statements or online and ensures that your international payments or sent to the right place. Sending overseas payments via SWIFT transfer can take a few working days to appear in the recipient’s bank account.

CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System) is a standard option for transferring funds electronically in the UK. CHAPS payments are often received in the recipient’s banks account the same day if processed before the bank’s deadline, usually around 4 pm. Due to the promptness of CHAPS, this method is often used for large, urgent payments such as house deposits.

How are telegraphic transfers processed?

CHAPS payments can be processed either online or by visiting your bank branch. Often, there is a limit to how much you can transfer online in an attempt to prevent online fraud. For large money transfers, it’s best to visit your local bank branch. For a CHAPS payment to be processed, the following will be required:

  • Debit card
  • Passport or another form of ID
  • Name and address of the recipient
  • Sort code, account number and name of the recipient’s bank

SWIFT payments can often be processed quickly via online banking, but you must have all the relevant information such as:

  • Correct SWIFT code for the recipient’s bank
  • Recipient’s IBAN (international bank account number) if applicable
  • The country you are sending the payment to
  • The currency you are to pay in
  • Reason for making the international transfer

Once payment has been sent, the progress of most telegraphic transfers can be tracked, although this is often subject to the bank and some may even charge an additional fee.

How much are telegraphic transfer fees?

It’s standard procedure for banks to charge a fee when processing international payments. Telegraphic transfer fees can vary amongst different banks, whilst some banks will not charge a CHAPS fee, most will charge in the range of £20 – £25.

For SWIFT transfers, banks will either charge a flat fee or a percentage of the amount you are transferring. On occasions, the recipient may also have to pay to receive the funds.

With banks setting their own exchange rates, you may not get the best deal when sending international payments. It’s often more beneficial to send international payments using a foreign exchange specialist like Halo Financial. Our variety of currency products allows you to secure the best exchange rates possible whilst avoiding costly bank fees.

To discover more about how to send cost-effective international payments, give Halo Financial a call on 020 7350 5474.


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