MT 799 – What is SWIFT MT 799? | 2024 TFG Ultimate Guide

Messaging Type 799 by SWIFT

Trade Finance Global / Introduction to Letters of Credit | 2024 Guide / MT 799 – What is SWIFT MT 799? | 2024 TFG Ultimate Guide

MT 799 (Messaging Types) Explained

MT799 is an essential part of international trade; a ‘free format message’ sent between banks which confirms funds or proof of deposits on a potential trade. MT799 allows banks to communicate between each other freely through the SWIFT system, rather than being a mechanism for transferring funds or paying.

If you deal with Bank GuaranteesDocumentary Credits, and Letters of Credit (LCs), you may have heard the term ‘MT799’ being used. A SWIFT code (also commonly referred to as SWIFTBIC) is a unique identifier which banks use to identify and send money to overseas banks.

A SWIFT Code for a bank is identifiable by a series of letters and numbers, as shown in the diagram below:

Country code ABCDUK3J Bank Code

What is the format of MT 799?

MT 799 Free Format MessageSource: SWIFT

‘MT nnn’ stands for Message Type Number: MT 799 messages must include a ‘Transaction Reference Number’ which can contain 16 characters in that field, and a ‘Narrative’ which provides a brief description of a transaction. In the case of the reference number, this field must not start or end with a slash ‘/’ and must not contain two consecutive slashes ‘//’, or it will throw up the error code: T26. With the Narrative, there are no ‘Network Validated Rules’ for MT 799.

Example of an MT 799?

MT-799Figure 1: An example of a MT799 (Source: SWIFT)

An example of an MT 799 message could be as follows:

We Refer To Our MT [nnn], Date [YYMMDD],

[Input Information on the Beneficiary, Total Letter of Credit amount, Dates etc.]

“Our Client reports funds [XXX], which have not yet been applied, please confirm the transfer status, and whether funds are available”


Bank [SWIFT Code]

How do I start the MT 799 process?

Banks do not like issuing these automated messages (MT 799), as they fear being liable for the cost of the trade. There is usually a requirement for the bank’s client to post a specific level of collateral.

What information is required by the financial institution?

A funder will need to know the name of the advising bank. However, they will request more granular detail, such as the LC Number and LC Amount. This will also include the tenor or length of the draft. This will be alongside the latest date of shipment. The company that is liable for the confirmation fee needs to be known; along with information on what products are being traded, location, port, unloading location and whether the LC is restricted for negotiation or not.

  • Name of the advising bank
  • Letter of Credit Identifier and Total Value
  • Details of the Letter of Credit type (restricted, negotiable)
  • Latest shipment date
  • Person or company liable for confirmation fee
  • A description of the goods / services
  • Port and/or country where product will be loaded and unloaded

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About the Author

Deepesh Patel is Editorial Director at Trade Finance Global (TFG). In this role, Deepesh leads efforts in developing TFG’s brand, relationships and strategic direction in key markets, including the UK, US, Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Deepesh regularly chairs and speaks at international industry events with the WTO, BCR, Excred, TXF, The Economist and Reuters, as well as industry associations including ICC, FCI, ITFA, ICISA and BAFT.

Deepesh is the host of the ‘Trade Finance Talks’ podcast and ‘Trade Finance Talks TV’. He is co-author of ‘Blockchain for Trade: A Reality Check’ with the ICC and the WTO, alongside other industry research.

In addition to his work at TFG, Deepesh is a Strategic Advisor for WOA, and works closely with ITFA. He also sits on the Fintech Working Group of the Standardised Trust.

Prior to TFG, Deepesh worked at Travelex where he was responsible for the cards business and the Travelex Money app in Europe, NAM, UK and Brazil. Deepesh is Chair of Governors and co-opted LA Governor of the Wyvern Federation, which has responsibility for 5 primary schools in South London.

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