The source below says "According to this document from the US Treasury, SWIFT handles about \$5 trillion per day, or given about 250 business days per year, about \$1.25 quadrillion dollars a year.". How much money is wire transferred every year worldwide?

However this source below says "Worldwide, 230 million people send \$500 billion in remittances each year". https://qz.com/775159/theres-a-500-billion-remittance-market-and-bitcoin-startups-want-in-on-it/

Why is the annual transferred money worldwide quite different? Could you tell me the correct figure?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Please can you edit the question to describe why you would expect remittances by private individuals to be anything other than a tiny tiny proportion of all transfers? $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 13:07

1 Answer 1


There is no contradiction here as not every transfer is a remittance.

late Middle English: from Latin remittere ‘send back, restore’

It is my understanding that the word remittance is usually used to describe transfers by foreign workers to their home countries. From Wikipedia:

A remittance is a transfer of money by a foreign worker to an individual in his or her home country.

These transfers may be conducted via SWIFT. As such they make up a small part of all SWIFT traffic, which would also include domestic payments, international business transfers, etc. So it is quite possible that the yearly volume of remittances is $\$5 \cdot 10^{11} $ whereas the yearly volume of SWIFT transfers is $\$1.25 \cdot 10^{15} $.


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