The MT-760 is a type of SWIFT message that is sometimes requested in sugar trading because it functions much like a Bank Guarantee, although it carries with it a much higher level of risk for the issuer (usually the buyer), and a reduced level of risk for the recipient (the seller). Essentially, a MT-760 is a SWIFT message which guarantees that a bank will make payment in favor of a client of another bank. When a MT-760 is issued, the issuing bank puts a hold on its client’s funds, thereby ensuring that the funds are in place to make payment to the recipient of the MT-760.
What Is SWIFT?
SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications. This is a Belgian organization, founded in 1973 in response to global demand for more efficient and effective means of communicating between banks in different countries. The SWIFT messaging system is a series of standardized messages which have authority in over eight thousand banks in over two hundred countries.
Why Are SWIFT Messages so commonly used?
SWIFT messages have become popular in the sugar trade due to their simplicity and efficiency. Because SWIFT messages are issued from bank to bank, there is little room for the sorts of human errors that can come into play when requesting hard copies of documentation. They are also much quicker than traditional methods of communication. A SWIFT message can be sent and received within seconds, and though they are still subject to processing time, this is much quicker than sending communications through the mail, and is much more secure.
There are a great many SWIFT codes which correspond to various types of message. A SWIFT code is normally made up of the letters ‘MT’, and then a three digit number. The ‘MT’ simply stands for ‘message type’, and the numbers correspond to a certain type of SWIFT message. For obvious reasons these numbers are standardized globally and do not change between countries.
What Happens When My Bank Issues An MT-760?
When an MT-760 is issued, the issuing bank puts a hold on the client’s funds, blocking the client from using them. The funds are then at the disposal of the person the MT-760 was issued in favor of. For this reason it is not wise to issue an MT-760 before receiving product, as this can mean a large financial loss for absolutely no gain. In some cases, unscrupulous traders can even use the MT-760 to open a line of credit, which they then default on, leaving the issuer of the MT-760 out of pocket.
What Does A MT-760 Look Like?
It is important to remember that an MT-760 is actually an interbank communication, so one never really sees an MT-760. The forms which need to be filled out to apply for an MT-760 can vary widely from bank to bank.
How Much Does A MT-760 Cost?
The cost of an MT-760 varies greatly from bank to bank. Be aware however, that due to the amount of risk involved for a bank in guaranteeing payment, a MT-760 is normally fairly expensive, with the usual bank fee for issuing a MT-760 being between 0.5% and 1.5% of the total value of the MT-760.
Is A MT-760 Negotiable?
No. Once a MT-760 has been issued, it is not negotiable. For this reason, many sugar traders prefer a Letter of Credit, which is negotiable and can be amended in response to unforeseen changes in circumstances, such as a delayed shipping schedule, lower production than anticipated, and other such events.
How Do I Get A MT-760?
A MT-760 can be obtained from your bank. Some banks are not willing to issue MT-760′s however, so if an MT-760 is absolutely essential, you may have to be prepared to move your funds to another banking institution. It is wise to inquire at your bank before committing to any sale that requires a MT-760 as part of its terms and conditions.
Are MT-760′s Safe?
As an issuer of an MT 760, you should be aware that you are exposing yourself to a great deal of risk. Unlike other payment methods, such as a Letter of Credit, which requires the seller to fulfill certain conditions and provide proof that sugar has shipped before being paid, a MT-760 provides the seller with free access to your funds with no restrictions whatsoever. For this reason, it is not recommended that you issue an MT-760 to an unfamiliar trading partner.