Does Western Union Use Swift Codes

Swift Programming

As someone who has worked in the financial industry for several years, I am often asked about the relationship between Western Union and SWIFT codes. In this article, I will delve deep into the topic to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of whether Western Union uses SWIFT codes or not.

Introduction to SWIFT Codes

SWIFT codes, also known as Bank Identifier Codes (BIC), are unique identification codes used to facilitate international money transfers between financial institutions. These codes are standardized and recognized worldwide, allowing for secure and efficient communication during cross-border transactions.

The Role of Western Union

Now, let’s talk about Western Union. For those who are unfamiliar, Western Union is a global leader in money transfer services. They have a vast network of agents and offices around the world, making it convenient for individuals to send and receive money internationally.

However, it is important to note that Western Union operates independently of the SWIFT network. Unlike banks or other financial institutions that use SWIFT codes to identify themselves during international transfers, Western Union has its own unique system in place.

The Western Union Money Transfer Control Number

Instead of relying on SWIFT codes, Western Union uses a different identification system known as the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN). When you send money through Western Union, you are given an MTCN, which serves as a reference number for tracking and receiving the funds.

This MTCN is crucial for both the sender and receiver. The sender needs to provide the MTCN to the recipient, who can then use it to collect the money from a Western Union agent location.

Why Doesn’t Western Union Use SWIFT Codes?

While the use of SWIFT codes is standard among banks, Western Union operates differently due to its focus on providing money transfer services to individuals rather than financial institutions. Their system is designed to be user-friendly and accessible, allowing anyone to send or receive money quickly and conveniently.

By utilizing their own network and the MTCN system, Western Union is able to offer services to a wider range of individuals, including those who may not have a bank account or access to traditional financial institutions.


In conclusion, Western Union does not use SWIFT codes like banks do. Instead, they have their own system in place, centered around the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN). This allows for simpler and more accessible money transfers, particularly for individuals who may not have access to traditional banking services.

Next time you need to send money internationally, you can confidently choose Western Union knowing that their secure and reliable services are tailored to meet the needs of individuals.