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What is a telegraphic transfer (TT)?

By Payel Bera

Reviewed by Vanessa Kintu

Fact checked by Paul Sorene

Telegraphic Transfer (TT)

The definition of telegraphic transfer (TT) is an electronic fund transfer method, generally used for overseas wire transactions. Telegraph wires can be described as the internet of the 19th century. Originally, when money transfers took place between financial institutions, it would be over telegraph wires. An operator at the sender’s bank would submit a message to the recipient’s bank using Morse code about the amount sent and the recipient.

With technological advances and the internet, the telegraph has become obsolete. However, the concept remains. TTs these days move via cable networks or cloud-based applications. The process is also referred to as wire transfer and electronic funds transfer (EFT).

TTs have a set of standards and regulations to control how transfers take place. Now that the telegraphic transfer (TT) meaning is clear, let’s further explore the fund transfer mode.

The telegraphic transfer process 

TTs are completed within two to four business days, depending on the country of origin, destination of the transfer and currency exchange requirements. Funds are transferred via the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) for international transactions. In the UK banking system, TTs are most commonly used in reference to Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS) transfers. In the US, domestic funds sent between institutions are transferred through the Federal Reserve System. 

Costs involved in telegraphic transfer

TT costs account for  the level of security offered to the transaction and any fees charged by the institution chosen to complete it. Fees associated to complete a telegraphic transfer are not standardised across all financial institutions, varying from one to another. 

Information needed for a telegraphic transfer

Whether a person is transferring funds or is on the receiving side, sender and destination information is crucial, including account numbers and information regarding the corresponding financial institutions, like the SWIFT code and branch ID. 

It is important that the sender and receiver provide personally identifiable information for security purposes, including identification codes provided by the country or the country’s income tax department. In the case of businesses, the identifiable information will be for the business instead of an individual.

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