Let's figure out what swift is in general. The system of money transfers between banks has existed for as long as the banks themselves. The client gave an order to his bank and the money from his account was sent to the recipient's bank account in another bank, this worked fine while the bulk of the operation was carried out inside the country. As international trade developed, the number of transfers between banks in different countries increased. You have a factory in Italy, and you buy raw materials in Germany, and you need to transfer money for it from an Italian bank, where you have an account, to a German bank, where the seller has an account. This is already somewhat more complicated, different languages and different banking systems, different formats of interbank messages. The exchange of information about payments between banks took place by telegraph or fax in a free form, that is, they simply wrote "so much money, to such and such an account", and it was all sorted out manually.
This was the case before Swift was created, and even earlier it was done by telegraph or even by ordinary paper mail. Of course, the banks sorted it out and the money was transferred, but finding out all the details could take some time, during which either you were left without raw materials for production, or your supplier was waiting for his money. To simplify the exchange of interbank information, primarily for transfers abroad, the swift system was invented in the seventies. Its name translates as the Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial communication channels. The idea was to agree on common standards for the exchange of information between banks from different countries and create a reliable encrypted communication channel.
Swift was founded by 248 large banks from 19 countries. At first, it was used only in Europe, and in the late seventies, American banks joined the system. Well, now, swift unites 11,000 financial organizations from 200 countries of the world. Now the network is used not only for transferring money abroad, but also for conducting operations within the country. Swift is far from the only system for exchanging interbank information, but it is the most common, approximately 80 percent of all transactions pass through it. How does swift work?
Let's look at an example: you have an account in some bank and you want to transfer money from it to another person who has an account in another bank, in another country. Your bank sends a message through the system that the money has been sent. Without waiting for the physical receipt of money, another bank transfers them to the recipient's bank account, because it fully trusts the message received through swift and can process it quickly, since it is compiled according to a unified standard. The ease of processing allows, on the one hand, to speed up the transfer of money, and on the other hand, to reduce the commission for the transfer, to make it cheaper, because there is no need to manually disassemble the mail (What is there? On what account? From whom did it come?). Let's fix it again, swift is a system for transferring payment information between banks, these are not money transfers themselves, but only information. Theoretically, nothing prevents banks from crediting a payment to the recipient's bank account based on a message received in some other way. Russia is one of the most active users of swift. Russian banks are in second place in terms of the number of transactions and fifteenth in terms of total volume.