SWIFT/Telegraphic/Wire Transfer  - Bank to Bank Money Transfer               Home


Wire Transfer or Telegraphic  Transfer is most economical way to make payments for amounts lower than US$5000 

How telegraphic or wire transfer works

In Europe,  banks ask for IBAN code in addition to SWIFT code. The IBAN code is the international bank account number. It differs from the SWIFT code which is the same as BIC - Bank Identifier Code. Money transfer in Euros in Europe. Unlike ECH (Electronic Clearing House) transactions which are automatic, SWIFT transfers require manual intervention, hence the charges are very high, especially for small amounts. 

Due to change in the ownership pattern or mergers, the names of the correspondent banks change often and it is advisable to reconfirm the SWIFT code of the bank and other details, before sending or receiving a Telegraphic Transfer.  The sender should fax or send a scanned copy of the Transfer receipt to the recipient, since banks often delay crediting the amount to the recipients account, if the details are not clear .


Though most banks in India work for at least half-day on Saturday, their foreign currency department remains closed. The charges for receiving the amount can vary depending on the bank and account type. For US$ remittances, both ICICI bank and HDFC bank have Chase Manhattan bank, New York as one of their correspondent banks in USA.


HDFC bank does not charge the recipient for receiving money through wire transfer, though their correspondent bank may deduct  their additional charges,  from the amount received. Since their correspondent banks are usually foreign banks like Standard Chartered the amount deducted can be substantial, typically Rs 500 per transaction. In such cases, the draft is directly sent from the foreign bank branch to an HDFC bank branch as a draft and credited to the recipients amount. Since HDFC bank does not directly receive the wire transfer, it will not be able to confirm the exchange rate. However, on request they will send a copy of the credit advice from the foreign bank (Standard Chartered), which indicate that Rs 500 is deducted as bank fees.


ICICI  bank charges the recipient Rs 250 (+ service tax) for receiving money through wire transfer for current accounts. The procedure for receiving money is very time consuming and their employees  harass their account holders. A customer sent us a telegraphic transfer for  a small amount - less than US$20, unfortunately to our ICICI bank current account. Someone from ICICI bank called us and told us that they  required a declaration on the purpose for which we had received the remittance. Apparently it was required as per RBI regulations. We were required to visit the ICICI bank branch personally, a faxed copy or email was not sufficient. The nearest ICICI bank branch is more than 5 km away. If they did not receive the declaration, they would return the money to the foreign sender.

So we visited the branch , the concerned officer first refused to take the handwritten declaration from the authorised person. Only a typewritten statement would be accepted , we were told to come again, in the evening with a printout. Apparently their auditors have a problem with handwritten declarations. Anyway, after arguing for sometime, they accepted the handwritten statement for that particular remittance.

So ICICI bank charges its customers Rs 276  for the privilege of  being harassed by ICICI Bank officers. This was in November 2005, now they seem to be trying to improve their service.have got 2 phone calls in the last 2 weeks asking if I wanted any assistance in forex transactions. Charges for getting a foreign currency inward remittance certificate are additional.

Most bank staff are usually ignorant about charges for foreign currency transactions, so if you ask them for any information, you could have to wait at least a week to get a reply

All banks will issue a foreign currency inward remittance certificate on payment of an additional fee.


If  you have any query , feedback or suggestion, or  wish to share your experience with us, please send an  email 


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