What is the difference between SEPA, SWIFT, and FPS?

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
Henry David Thoreau

In the modern era of globalization, financial transactions have become more intricate and varied. Consequently, three most popular systems are SEPA, SWIFT, and FPS. Tranzbase banking allows you to conduct payments through all three systems: SEPA, SWIFT, and FPS on one platform. However, if you desire to know the distinctions among these systems and maximize their potential, continue reading.


SEPA, which stands for Single Euro Payments Area, is a payment integration initiative developed by the European Union. SEPA enables individuals and businesses to make euro-denominated payments to any bank account within the SEPA zone, which includes 36 countries, including all EU member states. This means that payments can be made using a single bank account and a standardized set of payment instruments, such as credit transfers and direct debits.

One of the key advantages of SEPA is its low cost. Since it operates within the eurozone, SEPA transfers are treated as domestic payments, eliminating the need for expensive international transfers. Additionally, SEPA transactions are processed using IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and BIC (Bank Identifier Code) numbers, which ensure accuracy and speed in processing payments. However, it is important to note that SEPA transfers can take up to one business day to be completed.

SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication)

SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is a global messaging network used by banks to securely transmit information and instructions related to financial transactions. Unlike SEPA, which focuses on euro-denominated payments within the European Union, SWIFT enables cross-border transfers in multiple currencies worldwide. It provides a standardized format for transmitting payment instructions, ensuring compatibility and interoperability between different financial institutions.

The SWIFT system uses a unique identification code called the SWIFT code, which helps identify banks and financial institutions involved in the transaction. This code ensures that the funds are routed correctly and securely. The processing time for SWIFT transfers can vary depending on the participating banks and the countries involved, ranging from a few hours to several business days.

FPS (Faster Payments Service)

FPS (Faster Payments Service) is a UK-based payment system that allows individuals and businesses to make near-instantaneous payments within the UK. Launched in 2008, FPS operates 24/7, allowing users to transfer funds in real-time, including weekends and holidays. This makes it particularly convenient for time-sensitive transactions, such as bill payments or urgent transfers.

FPS transfers are processed using sort codes and account numbers, similar to domestic bank transfers. The system is designed to provide immediate confirmation of payment, ensuring transparency and peace of mind for both senders and recipients.

In conclusion, SEPA focuses on euro-denominated payments within the European Union, offering low-cost transfers within the SEPA zone. SWIFT, on the other hand, enables cross-border transfers in multiple currencies worldwide, ensuring reliability and security. Lastly, FPS is a UK-based system that provides near-instantaneous payments within the country.

By having a Tranzbase account, you can conveniently access the most innovative financial services all in one platform.

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