Home Mr Old Man WHETHER MT999 IS AN AUTHENTICATED SWIFT MESSAGE

WHETHER MT999 IS AN AUTHENTICATED SWIFT MESSAGE

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QUESTION

Dear Mr. Old Man,

I’m from MB Bank. I would highly appreciate your professional opinion on the following case relating to handling collection instructions under unauthenticated swift message.

We, as the collecting bank, received collection instructions with amount of USD150,000. Right after that, we received unauthenticated swift message from the remitting bank allowing us release the documents against payment with the new amount USD120,000 (decreased by USD30,000)

Could you please tell me what is the difference between an authenticated and unauthenticated Swift message?

What are the risks involved in acting based on an authenticated Swift message from remitting bank?

(In my opinion, all messages sent by Swift are authenticated, due to the fact that it is impossible to send a message by Swift if you are not Swift member. So that messages like MT999 are authenticated, not unauthenticated swift message. Am I correct?)

I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Thanks and best regards.

LHT
——

ANSWER

Hi,

I guess the message received by your bank is an MT999 and not MT799.

Both MT799 and MT999 are classified by Swift as free format messages. MT799 message is an authenticated message which means a test key (exchanged between the two banks) is automatically coded into the sent message, and decoded at the receiving end, whereas MT999 is an unauthenticated message which means it is sent without test code.

It is said that MT999 is like an email sent through the Swift message system. It has no value whatsoever, unless confirmed via a separate test key. Therefore, MT999 is not used to send payment orders as MT103… That is the reason why some prudent banks hesitate to act in accordance with the instructions contained in MT999.

In my own opinion, it depends on the information contained in MT999 that we decide to accept or refuse to handle the transaction. We may accept it if it is an acknowledgement of receipt or even an advice of refusal issued in accordance with sub-article 16 (c). For your case, I think you may consider whether to handle the collection as per the remitting bank’s instructions contained in MT999 message.

Kind regards,
Mr. Old Man

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