What is a Unique End-to-end Transaction Reference (UETR)?
  • 7.11.2020
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A Unique End-to-end Transaction Reference (commonly known as a UETR) is a string of xx unique characters featured in all payment instruction messages carried over SWIFT.

What is a UETR?

A Unique End-to-end Transaction Reference (commonly known as a UETR) is a string of xx unique characters featured in all payment instruction messages carried over SWIFT.

UETRs are designed to act as a single source of truth for a payment and provide complete transparency for all parties in a payment chain, as well as enable functionality from SWIFT gpi, such as the payment Tracker.

Why are UETRs so important?

In today’s digital world, banking services are being driven by developments in the consumer space. People now expect clear, accurate and real-time payment information.

UETRs are fundamental to meeting these demands by delivering genuine transparency and true end-to-end tracking of international payments.

When a payment is delayed, the beneficiary needs and expects to be able to find out quickly where the funds are and why that delay has occurred. The consequence of not having this visibility is a series of frustrating manual interventions, friction, and delays to the flow of goods and services. For beneficiary banks, UETRs drastically reduce exceptions and investigations as banks involved earlier in the process can view, in real-time, the latest payment status – meaning they no longer have to contact the beneficiary bank.

Who should provide a UETR?

All SWIFT users (whether gpi members or non-gpi members) originating payments must provide a UETR as standard for each of the following message types:

MT103

MT 103 STP

MT 103 REMIT

MT 202

MT 205

MT 202 COV

MT 205 COV

Who should provide the UETR?

What benefits do UETRs bring?

UETRs allow banks to easily trace their payments in real-time, regardless of complexity or the number of counterparties involved.

They also remove the need for a chain of references between the originating, intermediary and beneficiary banks, ensuring that all parties are using the same end-to-end reference. This reduces errors and the likelihood of conflict, saving time and money on reconciliation.

How do I ensure compliance?

When ordering institutions generate a payment message, their internal systems are required to generate and include a UETR for all of the message types (listed above) in the 121 field of the message.

Intermediary institutions must not generate a new UETR when routing payments, but their internal systems must be able to receive, copy and pass on the code that was present in the received message to other parties in the chain. Therefore, intermediary bank systems must also be able to handle UETRs.

Likewise, beneficiary banks (even if they are not gpi customers), must be able to receive and process UETRs to reconcile payments.

Institutions issuing cover payments must be able to create a copy of the original UETR and pass it over to the cover payment message.

Universal confirmations

From the end of 2020, all SWIFT member banks will be required to provide confirmation of payments status to the Tracker once they have been credited to the end beneficiary’s account − this must include whether payments have been rejected. As of Standards MT release 2020, universal confirmations will apply to every single customer payment (MT 103 on FIN).

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