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SEPA and SWIFT money transfers – what is the difference between the two?

If you are not particularly familiar with finances, you might be wondering what exactly SWIFT and SEPA transfers mean and what’s the difference between the two.

Let’s start off with what SEPA and SWIFT are.

SWIFT – The global provider of secure financial messaging

Banks should have a secure way for communicating financial information internationally.

Here’s what is meant by a SWIFT transfer:

SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide InterBank Financial Telecommunications. In brief, SWIFT is the leading global messaging system that banks and other financial institutions use. It transmits information and financial messages related to payments and transactions wordlwide.

The SWIFT messaging system is trusted for its robust security standards and high level of protection of each transaction. Thanks to SWIFT, and particularly our SWIFT membership, our clients can make cross-border money transfers securely, reliably and with confidence.

SEPA – Achieving payment integrity throughout Europe

Find out below what a SEPA transfer is:

SEPA is an abbreviation for Single Europe Payments Area. This type of payment transfer makes it possible for people and businesses to make transfers in euro across Europe with the same convenience as they do when paying in their home country.

Currently, 34 European countries take part in the SEPA payment-integration project. This includes the European Free Trade Association and the current members of the European Union. They all embrace the main idea – to harmonise electronic euro payments and provide simplicity, cost-effectiveness and convenience to consumers and businesses.

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Here are the differences between SWIFT and SEPA transfers:

  • SWIFT enables money transfers internationally, while SEPA payments can only be made within the SEPA area.
  • While some indicate that SEPA fees must be shared between the sender and the beneficiary, some financial institutions are required to credit the full amount of money to the recipient’s account without additional fees.
  • SWIFT transfers can be executed in various currencies while the SEPA initiative encompasses transfers in euro only.
  • The speed at which SEPA payments are made is fast. It takes less than one business day after the document is processed.

Despite the differences, however, both SWIFT and SEPA share the same goal – to provide seamless, secure and reliable money transfers to people and the businesses, and to enhance the integrity of the increasingly dynamic system of payments.

Want to learn more about the different ways to make money transfers and accept payments seamlessly through the myPOS full-service platform? Send us an email at

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