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SEPA Credit Transfers

Overview

Transfer euros between accounts located in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

Swan supports several types of credit transfers. Note the acronyms; while the documentation doesn't use them, the acronyms are sometimes present in the API and used in written and verbal communication.

Transfer typeDescriptionAcronym
SEPA Credit TransfersTransfers up to 1 cent less than a billion euros within SEPA that take up to 48 business hours to completeSCT
Instant SEPA Credit TransfersTransfers up to 100,000 euros within SEPA that are executed in 10 secondsSCT Inst
Swan Internal Credit TransfersTransfers between two Swan accounts in the same project that are almost as quick as instant transfersNone
Standing OrdersScheduled, recurring transfers within SEPA that can be instant or regularNone

If you see the acronym ICT, it's probably referring to International Credit Transfers, not Swan Internal.

Swan Internal Credit Transfers

Swan Internal Credit Transfers are executed between two accounts in the same Swan project.

Internal transfers are usually quicker than SEPA Credit Transfers. Otherwise, SEPA Credit Transfers and Internal Credit Transfers function almost identically within Swan, and both use the payment product SEPA Credit Transfer, displayed on your Dashboard > Data > Accounts > Transactions list.

Initiating credit transfers is a sensitive operation and requires consent from an account member with the canInitiatePayments membership permission.

Risk and credit transfers

All credit transfers pass through an automated risk assessment. If the automated assessment flags the transfer, it triggers a manual review by Swan.

If one of your transactions is flagged, Swan might contact you for more information. Due to the manual review, flagged SEPA Credit Transfers take longer to execute.

Verifying beneficiaries

IBAN verification allows debtors to verify that credit transfers are sent to the right beneficiary before initiating the transfer, thus reducing errors and potential fraud.

Dutch IBANs only

Swan allows IBAN verification for all transfers between accounts with Dutch IBANs, meaning both IBANs involved begin with NL. Refer to Swan's roadmap to review other IBANs for which integrating IBAN verification is planned.

When performing IBAN verification, Swan confirms that the beneficiary's name matches the name registered for the provided IBAN. Swan notifies the debtor initiating the transfer with one of three results:

  • ✓ The information matches.
  • ☒ The information doesn't match at all, referred to as an information mismatch.
  • ☒ The information doesn't match, but it might be a partial match or typo (for example, Alex instead of Alexa).

In the case of a total or partial mismatch, the debtor can update the beneficiary information accordingly before initiating their transfer. For a partial mismatch, the Swan API returns the field nameSuggestion with a suggestion to fix the mismatch or typo, but only if the external financial institution provides it as well.

Additionally, Swan allows external financial institutions to verify that a Swan account name and IBAN match the information entered by the debtor when initiating the transfer. If there's an information mismatch or partial match, the financial institution can notify the debtor, who can then confirm their beneficiary details before sending the transfer.

Swan also validates the format of all beneficiary IBANs. You can check the format of your IBANs with the API before using them to send a transfer.

Transfer limitations

  1. Credit transfers can't be sent if account holder verification is still in progress. While finalizing verification, the account's paymentLevel is Limited and the initiateCreditTransfers mutation returns an error.
  2. Swan accounts aren't designed to have a negative balance. Therefore, Swan checks an account's Available balance before executing credit transfers every time. If there isn't enough in the account, the transfer is rejected for insufficient funds.
  3. If you'd like to plan credit transfers in advance, you can do so up to one year in the future using the requestedExecutionAt input when initiating your transfer.

Instant SEPA Credit Transfers

The speedy version of SEPA Credit Transfers, Instant SEPA Credit Transfers have three key characteristics:

  1. A maximum execution time of 10 seconds.
  2. A maximum transaction amount of 100,000.00€ (one hundred thousand euros).
  3. Availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, including when SEPA is unavailable for other transaction types.
IBAN validation

Consider validating IBANs before initiating instant transfers.

Fallback mode

Instant transfers aren't accepted everywhere, and sometimes, the networks time out or fail.

Therefore, Swan implemented a mode for instant transfers allowing you to choose how to react if the instant transfer doesn't work as expected. There are three possible modes.

ModeDescription
InstantWithoutFallbackWhen an Instant SEPA Credit Transfer is rejected, the transaction is rejected and your user must initiate a new transaction themselves.

In choosing WithoutFallback, you'll abandon the transfer if it can't be instant.
InstantWithFallbackWhen an Instant SEPA Credit Transfer is rejected, the transfer is reinitiated automatically as a regular SEPA Credit Transfer instead, with few exceptions. ∗

When a transfer falls back, two transactions appear on the transaction history. ∗∗
RegularUse a regular, non-instant SEPA Credit Transfer from the beginning, which can take up to two business days to arrive (it's usually quicker, though).

∗ If the recipient's account can't be found, the account is closed, or the account holder is deceased, a regular transfer won't be initiated.

∗∗ When an instant transfer falls back to a regular transfer, you'll see two transactions on your transaction history by default: a rejected SepaInstantCreditTransferOut and a new SepaCreditTransferOut. When calling the transactions query, use the filter includeRejectedWithFallback=false so your users won't see the rejected instant transfer on their transaction history.

Transfer verification

Every time a Swan user initiates an Instant SEPA Credit Transfer, Swan verifies the transfer in real-time.

Reachability

Swan confirms reachability, meaning Swan makes sure the beneficiary's bank can accept the transfer.

Swan uses the EBA-RT1 and TIPS Clearing & Settlement Mechanisms (CSM), which are two of the major CSMs for Instant SEPA Credit Transfers accounting for 90% of the total reachability. Instant SEPA Credit Transfers sent from Swan accounts can be sent to banks connected to either EBA-RT1 or TIPS, but they can't be sent if banks don't use at least one of these CSMs.

Attempts to send Instant SEPA Credit Transfers to banks not connected to EBA-RT1 or TIPS are rejected with the reason BeneficiaryBankNotReachable. If you chose InstantWithFallback when setting up your transfer, we'll send it as a regular transfer. Otherwise, you'll need to initiate a new transfer.

Risk

All credit transfers pass through an automated risk assessment, explained in the section about risk. Unlike regular transfers, however, if an instant transfer is flagged, it's Rejected immediately with the reason code RegulatoryReason.

Swan can't guarantee an instant review, therefore removing the key element of an Instant SEPA Credit Transfer: instantaneity. If the mode InstantWithFallback was chosen when initiating the transfer, a new regular transfer is created automatically.

Standing Orders

Standing orders are scheduled, recurring credit transfers, that, at Swan, are sent on the SEPA network. Schedule them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Standing Orders can be sent as SEPA Credit Transfers or Instant SEPA Credit Transfers, and fallback applies for Standing Orders sent instantly.

As with all credit transfers, setting up a Standing Order is a sensitive operation. After the initial consent, however, subsequent Standing Orders are sent as scheduled without further consent.

Swan offers two types of Standing Orders:

TypeDescriptionExample
Fixed amountChoose a specific amount to send to your beneficiary on a recurring basis.Transfer 500€ each month to cover a car payment.
Target balanceChoose how much money you'd like to remain in your account after the Standing Order is sent. Send the remaining balance to your beneficiary.Transfer everything above 1,000€ to another account at the end of each day.

Standing Order statuses

Unlike other credit transfer status flows, Standing Orders only cycle through three statuses.

StatusExplanation
ConsentPendingStanding Order was scheduled but consent hasn't been received.
EnabledConsent for the Standing Order was received, the order is executed as scheduled indefinitely according to its configuration.
CanceledEither the Standing Order was canceled or consent was refused.

R-transactions

After credit transfers are initiated, other transactions, such as R-transactions, can be linked to the credit transfer transaction.

Returned

Outgoing credit transfers might be returned to Swan for several reasons, indicated in the returnReason. For example, the beneficiary account might be closed or not exist at all. Use the transactions query to get information about transactions, adding returnReason to ... on SEPACreditTransferTransaction.

When a transfer is returned, a SepaCreditTransferOutReturn transaction is created to credit the money back to the Swan account.

Additionally, incoming credit transfers might need to be returned to the debtor. For example, the account owner might have refused to consent to the transfer after the money was credited to the Swan account. When Swan needs to return a transfer, a SepaCreditTransferInReturn transaction is created to debit the money from the Swan account.

Incoming transfers with wrong BIC

Some banks require the beneficiary's Bank Identifier Code (BIC) when sending a transfer. If the debtor's bank requires it and the debtor enters Swan's BIC incorrectly, the transfer is returned to the debtor.

Recalled

Recalls typically occur when the debtor sends a transfer by mistake, but doesn't notice until it's too late to cancel the transfer or perform a return.

Recalls work the same way for SEPA Credit Transfers and Instant SEPA Credit Transfers, except the word Instant is added to the transaction type for instant transfers (shown in {curly brackets}).

Swan receives a recall request

A debtor might ask their bank to recall their transfer to a Swan account.

In this case, the debtor's bank sends Swan a recall request, after which Swan asks the Swan account holder if they accept the recall request. The Swan account holder has the choice to accept the recall request or not. If the Swan account holder accepts the recall request and their Available balance is sufficient to cover the amount, Swan debits the funds from the Swan account and sends them to the debtor.

To do so, a Sepa{Instant}CreditTransferInRecall transaction is created with the status Pending to debit the money from the Swan account. After the funds are debited, the status changes to Booked. The Sepa{Instant}CreditTransferInRecall transaction is connected to the same payment ID as the original Sepa{Instant}CreditTransferIn transaction.

Swan requests a recall

A Swan user might ask Swan to recall a credit transfer.

In this case, Swan sends the beneficiary's bank a recall request, asking that the original transaction amount be returned. The beneficiary's bank notifies the beneficiary of Swan's request, and the beneficiary has the choice to accept the recall request or not. If the beneficiary accepts the recall request, the funds are credited back to the original Swan account.

To do so, a Sepa{Instant}CreditTransferOutRecall transaction is created with the status Booked to credit money to the Swan account. The Sepa{Instant}CreditTransferOutRecall transaction is connected to the same payment ID as the original Sepa{Instant}CreditTransferOut transaction.

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