What is a MT103 document?

Gabriela Peratello

If you’ve sent money using the SWIFT network — the payment processing service usually preferred by banks — you may have been asked to get a SWIFT MT103 as a proof of payment. 

This guide covers key questions like: what is MT103, and also introduces Wise as an alternative to sending SWIFT payments that could net you a faster delivery time, a better exchange rate and a lower overall cost.

📑 Table of Contents

What is MT103?

When you send a payment overseas with a bank, the chances are that it’ll be processed using the SWIFT network¹. SWIFT is a secure messaging system that allows banks to work together in partnership to move money around the world. It was set up in the 1970s and is a reliable way to make international payments — even though it’s not always the fastest or cheapest option.

If you’ve sent a payment with SWIFT you may have heard of — or been asked to get hold of — the MT103 document. MT103 is a standardized proof of payment document which can be provided by any bank or institution sending money through the SWIFT network. 

The SWIFT MT103 fields show all you need to know about the transaction including who sent it, the processing institutions, the amount, fees and more.

New to international payments? Learn everything you need to know about the SWIFT payment network

When do you need a SWIFT MT103 document?

Usually banks don’t automatically produce MT103 documents when they process international transfers. However, they’ll be able to produce them on request, often for a fee. 

You may need an MT103 document as a proof of payment — for example if there’s a dispute about the transfer you’ve sent, or if there are any problems with the transaction. Banks may take a few days to pull this paperwork together, so if you’re asked to provide an MT103 it’s worth asking your bank for one right away.

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SWIFT payments can take up to 5 working days to be processed. Save time — and money — on international payments with Wise.

If you’re sending money overseas, Wise can often get your payment where it needs to be faster than a normal bank. 45% of Wise payments are instant and the vast majority are deposited within 24 hours. 

They’re also often cheaper than regular bank international money transfers, because Wise always uses the real mid-market exchange rate with a low, transparent fee. You’ll see instantly how much your payment will cost to process, and how much your recipient will get in the end — with no hidden costs or surprise fees to worry about.

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How do you request a MT103?

Once you’ve made your international payment you’ll need to ask your bank for the MT103 document directly. The exact process to get your paperwork will vary from bank to bank — you may be able to order the MT103 online through your regular banking service, or you might need to call customer support to request it. 

Check the fees — as you might have to pay extra to get an MT103 for your payment. It’s also worth checking how long it’ll take to get your document, as processing times can vary.

What are the MT103 fields?

Here are the standard MT103 fields that you’d expect to see on your document:

FieldDescription
:20Transaction Reference Number
:23BBank Operation Code
:32AValue Date/Currency/Interbank Settled
:33BCurrency/Original Ordered Amount
:50A, F or KOrdering Customer (Payer)
:52A or DOrdering Institution (Payer's Bank)
:53A, B or DSender's Correspondent (Bank)
:54A, B or DReceiver's Correspondent (Bank)
:56A, C or DIntermediary (Bank)
:57A, B, C or DAccount with Institution (Recipient's Bank)
:59 or 59ARecipient
:70Remittance Information (Payment Reference)
:71ADetails of Charges (BEN/OUR/SHA)
:72Sender to Receiver Information
:77BRegulatory Reporting

You won’t need proof of payment every time you move money overseas — sometimes the transaction record that shows in your online or paper account will be plenty. 

But it’s good to know you can get a standardized proof of payment document if you ever need one when paying through SWIFT. And if you want to skip SWIFT to get your money where it needs to go faster and for a lower overall fee, consider looking at Wise. Low cost international payments with the real exchange rate, every time.


Sources: 

  1. SWIFT

Source checked on 04.19.2022


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