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What is a telegraphic transfer?

Officially, a telegraphic transfer, or TT, was a means to move money between accounts using a cable, radio, or get this, a transoceanic telephone. The term originates from when people used to move money using telex: sending printed messages by cable. No one does that anymore. Now, the term is often used synonymously with ‘money transfer’, ‘wire transfer’ or ‘SWIFT transfer’ (even though SWIFT originated as a different system).  

Before the standardisation of the SWIFT network, telegraphic transfers were the only option for transferring funds internationally. However, if you see the term ‘telegraphic transfers’ today, you should assume people are talking about any range of bank-to-bank money transfers, many of which use the SWIFT system. These days, the term ‘telegraphic transfer’ has different meanings at different banks and in different countries.

At times, a telegraphic transfer may refer to the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) method of payment.

What is Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS)?

A Real Time Gross Settlement is as close to an instant bank transfer as you can get. Whereas normal SWIFT requests are usually bulked and sent by banks at certain pre-established times of the day, RTGS transfers are expedited on an individual basis. You can order an expedited payment with OFX for a small fee, but these expedited payments may be limited to certain currencies. In such cases, OFX delivers your funds within two hours (although the funds may arrive within five minutes).

What is a TT transfer?

A ‘TT’ is an abbreviation for telegraphic transfer. Telegraphic transfers worked well for many years, but certain pressures, demands, and changes helped spur the rise of SWIFT to become the international standard. As mentioned above, most people use the term ‘telegraphic transfer’ interchangeably with ‘money transfer’. From here on in, that’s how we’ll be using the term.

Telegraphic Transfer Advantages

Telegraphic transfers using RTGS are not processed in large batches; they are often facilitated by hand. The funds are generally available to the recipient much more quickly. Depending on the efficiency of the banking system in the recipient’s country, telegraphic transfers using RTGS may take one business day or less.

At this point, the SWIFT system is an old one. It began in 1973. SWIFT transfers can often take up to three days to complete, as banks tend to process them in large batches at set intervals, rather than immediately as each individual one is received.

Telegraphic Transfer Fees

Telegraphic transfer fees will vary depending on your TT provider. Some banks may charge a fee for you to make a money transfer, as well as the exchange rate they offer. We believe in a fairer way to move money. OFX offers bank-beating exchange rates and charges no OFX fees on your money transfer.

How Secure are Telegraphic Transfers?

Telegraphic transfers or wire transfers are a safe way of sending funds whether you use a bank or a provider like OFX. The risk in sending money this way comes from the fact that this is the preferred method of payment for scammers. Scammers love telegraphic transfers because the money moves so fast, and once it’s in their account, you have almost no recourse to get it back. That’s why you should never send money to someone who first contacted you via the internet or email. Read more about warning signs for wire transfer fraud.

For your own peace of mind, OFX is regulated by over 50 regulators worldwide. We’re a listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and we employ a dedicated fraud risk prevention team. We offer fast, reliable telegraphic transfers 24/7.