There are many strategies for securely making international payments—here, we’ll focus on a key one: SWIFT codes.

International business payments can be complicated and stressful. Factors such as distance, time zones, currencies and legal requirements—to name a few—make paying and receiving money from abroad very complex. However, no matter where in the world you do business, it’s important to use secure and efficient international payment practices for receiving and sending funds.

When is a SWIFT code used?

Let’s say you make a sale to a customer in a foreign country, and it’s time to get paid. The invoice that you sent to your customer is in US Dollars, but the payment will be wired from a financial institution outside the US. Your customer calls asking for payment instructions to send you a wire. You know the customer and have verified that the request for the information is legitimate. Your next step: Get paid using a SWIFT code.

Here’s how it works

SWIFT stands for: Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications. A SWIFT code identifies a specific bank during an international transaction, and it allows bank customers to receive international US Dollar payments right into their bank accounts.

SWIFT is a global member-owned cooperative and the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services. They provide a platform for messaging, standards for communicating and services to facilitate access and integration. They also complete the identification, analysis and regulatory compliance.

The majority of international transfers are made through SWIFT because it is secure, reliable, compliant and efficient. If you do not use a SWIFT code, payments could be delayed, and there may be a period of time when the funds are not able to be located, causing stress on your business relationship. 

Here’s what you’ll need

  1. Your financial institution’s SWIFT code (Camden National Bank’s SWIFT code is CDNAUS3C)
  2. Beneficiary Information (your name, address, and account number)
  3. Payment Reference (usually an invoice number or payment description)

Once you get accustomed to receiving payments from financial institutions outside the US, providing payment instructions for incoming wires will be as easy as providing your mailing address. 

Consult with a professional

International business can be complicated, but making and receiving international payments doesn’t have to be. Working with an International Treasury Specialist at your financial institution can help you master international transactions and expand your market opportunities.

If you’d like to learn more, please reach out to Barbara Raths, Senior Vice President, Treasury Management Sales Advisor and International Treasury Specialist here at Camden National Bank.