28 December 2007

LC SWIFT Format: Field 27 (Sequence of Total)

As I mentioned in the previous post, LC is a message containing ‘to do list’, information, instruction which forms what is called terms and conditions. As LC is practiced worldwide, the terms and conditions expressly indicated must be arranged in a systematic order so as not to raise any misunderstanding and confusion. Therefore, they are arranged in a sequence order applied worldwide in a format developed by Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication or in short, SWIFT. LC messages travel from bank to bank electronically and finally delivered to seller in hard copy. There are various SWIFT Message Types (MT) used for a different purposes:

Category 0 – Financial System Messages
Category 1 – Customer payments & Cheques
Category 2 – Financial Institution Transfers
Category 3 – Treasury
Category 4 – Collection & Cash Letters
Category 5 – Securities
Category 6 – Treasury Markets
Category 7 – Documentary Credits & Guarantees
Category 8 – Travellers Cheque
Category 9 – Cash Management & Customer Status

LC is issued using MT category 7, which is specifically known as MT700/701 comprising an assigned sequence ‘fields’.

The first field of MT700/701 is field 27 (sequence of total). This field requires only number or figure to be indicated without alphabet and this field is a mandatory field. In other words, it must present and must be indicated. This field represents number of message and total number of messages.

For example, if 1/1 is indicated, it means that this is the only message in one page. 1/2 indicates that this is the first message of a total of 2 messages. In this case, the receiving bank must ensure that it receives both of the messages marking 1/2 and 2/2 under field 27. This is very important because LC carries monetary value and failure to receive all messages would caused unnecessary problem. In some instances, the message can be more than 3 pages.

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