Wire Payments

 How wire transfers work

Between financial institutions

Wire transfers are a quick, safe and reliable way for businesses to transfer funds both domestically and internationally. The Large Value Transfer System (LVTS) is used to send Canadian dollar wire transfers between participating financial institutions (FIs) across the country. LVTS is also used for the Canadian leg of international wire transfers.

LVTS wire transfers are supported by a strong legal framework which enables the sending of near real-time, irrevocable payments. This certainty allows recipients to use the funds the moment they become available, with full confidence that the payment will not be reversed for any reason.

Within the same financial institution

Wire transfers between customers of the same financial institution, known in the industry as “on-us” wire payments, are not processed through the LVTS. Facilitated by Payments Canada and the Canadian Bankers Association, the majority of Canada’s major financial institutions have endorsed and adopted a voluntary best practice which provides assurance to their customers that they will treat on-us wire payments in a similar manner as LVTS wire transfers (from the customers’ perspective).

Wire transfer services for businesses

Through wire transfer services provided by FIs to their customers, businesses can request wire payments to other financial institution customers. These services are proprietary to each financial institution, and offered under various brand names.

In order to send a wire transfer for a customer, regardless of the destination, or the currency in which the funds are sent, certain required information (such as the beneficiary's account number, for example) must be provided to the sending financial institution. This can be done in various ways, such as via an electronic interface, over the phone, or in person at the branch, depending on the services offered by the sender's financial institution. In order for the transfer to proceed, the sender must also ensure that there are sufficient funds are available in their own account (or sufficient credit exists) to cover the amount of the payment. Once the sender has provided the sending FI with the required information, the funds will be debited immediately from the sender's account and the sending FI will proceed with the LVTS wire transfer.

Once the wire transfer has been received by the receiving financial institution, the transfer of funds is considered final and irrevocable and the credit must be applied to the beneficiary's account.

Businesses choose wire transfers for critical, time-sensitive, or large value payments since the beneficiary can access the funds on the same day the transfer is sent (often in near real-time), with full confidence that the payment will not be reversed for any reason. 

The benefits of straight-through processing (STP) for businesses

The processing of wire transfers between financial institutions takes place in a matter of seconds regardless of where each financial institution is located in Canada, but the full end-to-end time between your business' request to send a payment and the beneficiary's receipt of the funds is influenced by the completeness, accuracy, and formatting of the information you provide.

Providing complete and accurate information to your FI, in the proper format, enables straight-through processing of your wire transfers - the movement of funds from sender to beneficiary, with no manual intervention, in a timely manner. STP is particularly beneficial for businesses sending time-sensitive payments, and critical payments that form part of a value chain upon which later transactions depend.

Ensuring that accurate information is provided, and that wire payments are formatted properly for STP, increases the speed and efficiency of wire transfers for businesses. It also avoids processing delays and additional fees which may be charged by financial institutions if manual intervention is required.

What businesses need to know

Importance of accurate information

When sending or receiving a wire transfer for your business, it is important that specific and complete information is provided to the sending financial institution. Accurate information will:

  • Eliminate the possibility of processing delays related to missing/incorrect data;
  • Lessen risk that the payment will be rejected; and
  • Satisfy regulatory requirements under anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing laws and regulations.

Information your financial institution needs from you

To send a wire transfer that is properly formatted for STP, your FI will require the following information:

About the ordering customer (the sender):

  • Full name and address
  • FI name and branch address
  • Five-digit transit number for the financial institution from which the funds will be sent
  • Account number from which the funds will be sent

This information is readily available and can be provided by the sending financial institution. If you are initiating the transfer through an electronic interface, it will typically be pre-populated.

About the beneficiary:

  • Name (spelling should exactly match the name on the beneficiary's account)
  • Address
  • Bank account number (excluding spaces and special characters) along with the transit number for the branch where the funds are to be deposited.
  • Beneficiary's financial institution information: financial institution name and branch address including postal code and SWIFT Business Identifier Code (BIC) if available; or routing information (the 3-digit Canadian financial institution number and 5-digit branch transit number where the receiving account is located). If the intended beneficiary gives you the branch routing information for a Canadian financial institution, you can use the Financial Institutions Branch Directory to confirm its accuracy.

About the payment:

  • Amount
  • Value Date (YY/MM/DD format)
  • Details of charges – who will be paying for the wire transfer service fee

Formatting guidelines

The table below outlines the information required by a financial institution to send a wire payment. Your financial institution can help you if you need further assistance.

Required information for a customer wire transfer (MT103)

Explanation

Format

Example

Value Date/Currency code/Amout (field 32A)

Value Date

Currency

Amount

 

Date of payment - format YYMMDD

Currency code - e.g. CAD for Canadian Dollars

Payment amount including comma - format 12345, 00

 

20121225

CAD

12345,00

Ordering Customer (field 50K or 50F)

Sender's information

Sender's account number to withdraw funds from

NAME
STREET ADDRESS
CITY, PROVINCE
POSTAL CODE

123456789012345

JOHN SMITH
1 MAIN STREET
OTTAWA, ON
K1A 1A1

1234567589012345

Account with Institution (field 57 - receiver's financial institution information)

Option 1 - 57A

Option 2 - 57D

Option 3 - 57C

Option 4 - 57B

Canadian clearing code (CC)
BUSINESS IDENTIFIER CODE (BIC)

Canadian clearing code (CC)
FINANCIAL INSTITUTION NAME
STREET ADDRESS
CITY, PROVINCE

Canadian clearing code (CC)

Canadian clearing code (CC)
LOCATION

//CCOFI#00009
FICATT

//CCOFI#00009
My FI Name
MAIN STREET
CALGARY, AB

//CCOFI#00009

//CCOFI#00009
CALGARY BRANCH

Beneficiary customer - (field 59)

Beneficiary's Information

Beneficiary's account number

NAME
STREET ADDRESS
CITY, PROVINCE
POSTAL CODE

123456789012345

JANE DOE
1 HIGH STREET
CALGARY, AB
T1X 1A1

0987654321098765

Details of charges 
(field 71A - who will be paying for the charges)

OUR (the ordering customer will pay all fees)
BEN (the beneficiary will pay all fees)
SHA (ordering customer and beneficiary share all fees)

BEN