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How much money is wire transferred every year worldwide? Estimates are fine.

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    $\begingroup$ What constitutes a "wire transfer" for the purpose of this question? Do you just mean an electronic transfer, or do you mean the specific alternative to ACH that is provided as a retail bank service? $\endgroup$ – dismalscience Nov 15 '15 at 13:30
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not picky, I'm just curious about the general magnitude of these kinds of things. $\endgroup$ – B T Nov 15 '15 at 20:54
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    $\begingroup$ Statistics for the UK The total for 2014 is £73 trillion, which fits with dismalscience's reckoning $\endgroup$ – paj28 Nov 17 '15 at 14:04
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If you're just trying to understand the volume of electronic transactions generally to an order of magnitude, it's in the quadrillions of dollars per year. 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.

Similarly, CHIPS handles about \$400 trillion per year, and Fedwire handles around \$900 trillion per year (most of both of these arise out of SWIFT messages). These transactions make up a large fraction of electronic transactions in the world, so it's safe to assume that the global total isn't much more than a few quadrillion dollars a year.

SWIFT payment message volumes are usually around 11.5 million per day, giving an average payment size of around \$45,000— though if one considers the structure of the payments system, it's evident that there's a very wide distribution of payments sizes, so this average isn't particularly representative.

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  • $\begingroup$ "the global total isn't much more than a few quadrillion dollars a year" - comedy! $\endgroup$ – B T Nov 17 '15 at 4:46
  • $\begingroup$ Oh would you mind adding information about the number of transactions to this answer? Looks like your links have that info too, and its pretty relevant. Looks like its on the order of hundreds of millions of transactions. $\endgroup$ – B T Nov 17 '15 at 4:49
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    $\begingroup$ @BT— Sure! Done. $\endgroup$ – dismalscience Nov 17 '15 at 13:27

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