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Difference Between Unique and Shared SWIFT Accounts

Difference Between Unique and Shared SWIFT Accounts

When it comes to international banking, understanding the difference between shared and unique SWIFT accounts is essential. Let’s delve into what each type of account entails and how they can impact your business.

What is a SWIFT Account?

First, let’s clarify what a SWIFT account is. SWIFT is an abbreviation for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. It’s a global network that allows banks and financial institutions to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure and standardized manner. A SWIFT account is simply an account that enables the user to send and receive funds internationally using this network.

Key Advantage of SWIFT Transfers

One of the biggest advantages of SWIFT transfers compared to other money transfer options is the ability to transfer funds in different currencies. This flexibility is crucial for businesses and individuals engaged in international trade or those conducting financial operations across various countries. The extensive SWIFT network connects more than 11 thousand financial institutions around the world, providing seamless conversion and transfer of money in multiple currencies and ensuring efficient, accurate, and secure transactions, no matter where the sender and beneficiary are located. SWIFT transfers can be made in over 200 currencies worldwide. Among the most popular are the US dollar (USD), euro (EUR), British pound (GBP), Australian dollar (AUD), Canadian dollar (CAD), Japanese yen (JPY), Swiss franc (CHF), Chinese yuan (CNY), Hong Kong dollar (HKD), and Singapore dollar (SGD). At Satchel, we enable both business and personal account users to conveniently transact in the world’s major currencies.

Myths about Unique and Shared SWIFT Accounts

Firstly, it’s important to understand that SWIFT transfers, whether through unique or shared accounts, are fundamentally the same within the SWIFT system. Here are some key points:

  • Transfer Speed: Identical for both types of accounts.
  • Security: Both offer cutting-edge security mechanisms.
  • Convenience: Both account types offer a similar level of convenience, featuring user-friendly mobile and online banking interface.
  • Geography of Coverage: It is the same, as determined by the list of countries supported by the SWIFT system, the banking provider, and the restrictions or recommendations of regulatory authorities.

Pros and Cons of Unique and Shared SWIFT Accounts

Criteria Unique SWIFT Accounts Shared SWIFT Accounts
Cost Higher costs. + More affordable.
Setup Additional compliance procedures required. + Smooth setup.
Acceptance + Widely accepted. Limited acceptance by certain banks.
Corporate Identity + Direct association with your company. Provider’s info in transaction details.
Transfer Speed The same The same
Security The same The same
Convenience The same The same

Shared SWIFT Accounts

Shared SWIFT accounts are used by multiple clients through a single account number. Typically, this means the account belongs to a SWIFT provider, and all client transfers are processed through a common account. For instance, in the transaction details, your financial institution will be mentioned as the recipient or sender. Shared accounts are managed by financial service providers who pool resources to offer international banking services at a lower cost.

Despite sharing the account, each customer retains full control over their SWIFT transactions and can easily track them like any other payment. In case of any technical issues, your transaction can always be identified by reference numbers, which your banking provider will help you with.


  1. Cost Efficiency: In most cases, the cost of opening shared SWIFT accounts is lower compared to unique ones due to reduced operational costs.
  2. Smoother Setup: In most cases, clients apply for a shared SWIFT account as an additional one. When opening an additional account with the same financial provider, clients already have a completed KYC check, which can speed up the process.


  1. Limited Acceptance: Not all banks accept transfers from shared SWIFT accounts, particularly in China and other East Asian countries.
  2. Customer Trust and Confidence: Customers might feel less confident in the security and reliability of a shared account system. However, there are no real risks involved; as we mentioned previously, shared accounts are not inferior to unique ones in terms of security and reliability.

Unique SWIFT Accounts

Unique SWIFT accounts, also known as dedicated or named accounts, are exclusively used by a single business or individual. These accounts are established and managed specifically for your company’s transactions or personal needs. With a unique SWIFT account number for international transfers, transactions become smoother, ensuring a more personalized banking experience. Large companies typically have a corporate policy to use unique accounts by default, and the shared option is generally not considered when it comes to SWIFT. For a big business, having a unique account is considered best practice.


  1. Professional Image: The details of the invoice will fully correspond to your name or the name of your company, enhancing your professional appeal.
  2. No Acceptance Limitations: You won’t encounter situations where a recipient’s bank or financial institution refuses to accept payments due to the use of a shared account.


  1. Higher Costs: Unique accounts typically have greater expenses compared to shared ones.
  2. Additional Setup: Setting up and managing a dedicated account can be more time-consuming due to additional compliance procedures.

At Satchel, we offer both unique and shared SWIFT accounts, leveraging our extensive network of partner banks and financial institutions to deliver a fully digital banking experience tailored to your needs.

Which Option is Best for You?

When choosing between a shared and unique SWIFT account, you should primarily consider your specific needs:

  • If you are a small business, startup, or sole entrepreneur looking to save costs and simplify your banking operations, a shared SWIFT account might be the right choice.
  • For a more personalized banking experience, a unique SWIFT account could be more suitable.

Concluding Thoughts

Shared SWIFT accounts offer a cost-effective and convenient solution for businesses and individuals looking to minimize expenses and simplify international transaction management. On the other hand, unique SWIFT accounts provide exclusive access, making them ideal for those with higher transaction volumes and specific operational requirements. Carefully consider your specific requirements and budget to make an informed decision and opt for the best option for your needs.

We’re excited to share that EU and UK citizens and residents have the opportunity to open unique personal SWIFT accounts for free with Satchel until June 30, 2024.


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