International wire transfer regulations

Written by carl wolf
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International wire transfer regulations
Strict regulations govern international wire transfers of money. (Power lines image by Kavita from

If you send a wire transfer to a person or entity in a foreign country, you must be aware of the regulations that govern this type of transaction. In accordance with the Patriot Act of 2001, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen) requires that financial institutions transmit full information about your wire transfer to them for amounts of £1,950 or more. The information must include your identity and that of the person receiving the money.

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International wire transfers are conducted electronically through an online network system called SWIFT that connects member banks to each other for purposes of transferring money from the account of the sending customer located at the originating bank to the account at the bank where the recipient is located. Each member bank has a bank identification code (BIC) that identifies it by region and country. The European Union and many other countries have adopted even more precise coding known as the international bank account number (IBAN) that provides finite information for the electronic forwarding of funds to the exact point of delivery.

The SWIFT online processing system is used to conduct international wire transfers.
The SWIFT online processing system is used to conduct international wire transfers. (global computer network image by Michael Brown from

Originating Bank

Fincen requires that a clear paper trail of information for all wire transfers of £1,950 or more be retained as part of the record-keeping requirements of the law. Therefore, your bank, which is sending the international wire transfer based on your instructions is obligated as the originating bank under the Patriot Act to retain and transmit the following information: Your name and address, amount of payment order, any payment instructions, identity of the beneficiary's bank, name and address of the beneficiary, account number of the beneficiary and any other identifying information about the beneficiary.

International wire transfer regulations
The originating bank of an international wire transfer must supply Fincen with complete documenttion about the initiator of the wire transfer. (bank image by Pefkos from

Intermediary Bank

If your bank does not have a direct link to SWIFT or to the beneficiary bank, then the travel rules of Fincen apply to wire transfers of £1,950 or more for the sending of SWIFT transfers to an intermediary bank that has proper access to the beneficiary bank. In this regard, the record-keeping regulations for the intermediary bank require the transmittal of the same information obtained by the originating bank plus the name, address or numerical identifier of the transmitting bank.

International wire transfer regulations
The intermediary bank is subject to the travel rules of Fincen. (Department of Treasury Building image by dwight9592 from

Beneficiary Bank

When your international wire transfer payment reaches its final destination, the beneficiary bank, prior to payment, is required to maintain a copy of the payment order. If your payee is not an established customer of the beneficiary bank, then that bank must record the name, address and identifying legal documentation of the person receiving the money.

International wire transfer regulations
The beneficiary bank must keep a copy of the payment order and any identifying documentation. (bank office image by Dumitrescu Ciprian from

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