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Explanations & Definitions





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In our experience, the solutions offered in this section have proven to be effective; however, we always recommend that you consult with an attorney.

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Introduction Fedwire SWIFT Other wire transfer systems

What are Funds and Securities

Wire Transfer Systems?


As opposed to the days of manual ledger entries, the days when securities were all physical documents and banks had to maintain vaults of ready cash, the age of high-speed computers and telecommunications is one of electronic financial messages.

Securities are seldom tangible items - now they are electronic ledger entries.  Credits and debits are by and large kept only as numbers in a computer data system.  Banks need only carry as much ready cash as is estimated customers will need on a day to day basis.  Even checks are becoming obsolete, being replaced with online banking and bill paying services.

Thanks to the ability for computers to speak to each other over vast global networks, international trade has speeded up.  It may still take days for bag of rice to reach its destination, but the the payment for that bag takes only a matter of minutes.

In effect, money and securities travel over the wires from one bank to the other, being credited and debited in the blink of an eye.  Each wire system is a service to which banks subscribe and for which there is a fee to the sender to cover the subscription costs.  There are wire transfer systems that are only domestic, others that are international.  Some systems permit the transmission of bank-responsible instructions or conditions, many do not. 

Rapid electronic transfer of funds and securities is a con-artist's dream come true.  He can persuade a victim to transfer funds to any bank, anywhere in the world.  He can withdraw those funds the moment they are credited to his account - without leaving the comfort of his chair in front of the computer.  And, he can be long gone before the victim even realizes he has been taken.

In the following pages you will learn how wire transfer systems work, both domestically and internationally, how they are used and by whom, and their scope and limitations.


 Introduction Fedwire SWIFT Other wire transfer systems



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