When transferring money abroad, you can choose between two different payment routes:

  • SWIFT payments

  • Local payment routes

Which option you select, may depend on factors such as cost savings, ticket size, traceability, speed of execution, or simply the availability at the payment institution.

To opt for the best route for your international business transaction, it is crucial to get to know both possibilities first.


SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) is a global messaging system largely used by banks and financial institutions for cross-border payments. A SWIFT transfer, also called an international money transfer, is a secure and internationally standardised method for sending or receiving money from banks all around the globe, which is why they can be received by almost everyone everywhere.

SWIFT payments come, however, at high cost, since banks usually charge transfer or recipient fees. The type of SWIFT transaction (BEN, OUR or SHA) will determine who incurs the fees:

  • BEN: The recipient bears all costs, which means that the recipient will receive an amount that is lessened by the fees applied by the parties involved.

  • SHA: Recipient and sender share the costs, whereby each party will be charged by their respective bank.

  • OUR: The sender bears all costs.

Note that some banks may route your money via an intermediary bank if there is no direct relationship. This means that payment processes can get slower and more expensive, since there are more parties involved who charge fees. Minimizing these, sometimes quite significant, fees is a big part of the reason why companies look for local payment routes.

Local payment routes

Local payment routes are a relatively new, cost-effective payment method, which have been growing in availability in recent years. Local payment providers use a network of local bank accounts all over the world to get access to domestic payment schemes. By doing so, they can cut out intermediary banks and, thus, unnecessary fees.

Examples of domestic payment schemes include SEPA in Europe, Faster Payments in the UK and ACH in the United States.

Local payment routes allow you to execute and receive local payments in the domestic currency as if you were based domestically. This means that you can settle payments locally, without cross-border fees typically charged for SWIFT payments. You or your beneficiaries will therefore receive the full transaction amount, without any deduction.

Tip: With amnis, you get local, virtual IBANs so that you are able to receive e.g. GBP payments from UK customers domestically via UK Faster Payments, without any deductions. Learn more here.

Nowadays, many local payment schemes even offer an instant payment option, e.g. SEPA Instant Credit Transfer. Payments are executed instantly and automated processes ensure that you don't lose track of a transaction.

Finding the right provider

Depending on your current business' needs, you may decide for SWIFT and/or local payment routes for your cross-border transactions. Therefore, it is important to find a financial service provider that meets all of your needs.

With amnis, you can send 20+ currencies via local payment routes, which means that the beneficiary receives the full amount. In addition, any major currency can be sent to 200+ countries via SWIFT.

Moreover, you get local foreign currency accounts in EUR, GBP, USD and CAD in your own name to receive payments domestically. This means that you can settle these currencies locally, withouth cross-border fees. Additionally, your multi-currency IBAN allows you to receive 25 currencies from 180+ countries via SWIFT.

For more information, you can visit our website or contact our support team - they will be more than happy to answer your questions!

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