MT 720 Transfer of a Documentary Credit

MT 720 is a type of swift message which is used by banks when transferring a letter of credit. MT 720 swift message is sent by the transferring bank to the advising bank that will be advising the credit to the second beneficiary.


Swift is a provider of secure message platform for financial institutions mainly for banks.

Swift messages are being sent and received by banks in encrypted forms. As a result swift messages are accepted as a valid and reliable way of communication between banks.

For example, an issuing bank sends a swift message to an advising bank in order to inform issuance of a documentary credit. Similarly the advising bank sends its acknowledgement via a swift message.

Swift messages play a key role not only in letters of credit but also other payment methods in international trade such as cash in advance payment, documentary collections, open accounts and bank payment obligations.

What is MT 720 Transfer of a Documentary Credit?

MT 720 is a special swift message type that is used with transferable letters of credit only.

MT 720 swift message is used by the transferring bank to advise the transfer of the documentary credit, to the bank advising credit to the second beneficiary.

It is used to advise the second beneficiary about the terms and conditions of the transferred documentary credit, or part thereof.

On below table you can find explanations regarding the fields used under MT 720 swift messages.

You can also reach individual pages of each field by clicking the corresponding links.

MT 720 Transfer of a Documentary Credit

StatusTagField Name
M27Sequence of Total
M40BForm of Documentary Credit
M20Transferring Bank's Reference
M21Documentary Credit Number
O31CDate of Issue
M40EApplicable Rules
M31DDate and Place of Expiry
O52aIssuing Bank of the Original Documentary Credit
O50BNon-Bank Issuer of the Original Documentary Credit
O51aApplicant Bank
M50First Beneficiary
M59Second Beneficiary
M32BCurrency Code, Amount
O39APercentage Credit Amount Tolerance
O39BMaximum Credit Amount
O39CAdditional Amounts Covered
M41aAvailable With ... By ...
O42CDrafts at ...
O42MMixed Payment Details
O42PDeferred Payment Details
O43PPartial Shipments
O44APlace of Taking in Charge/Dispatch from .../ Place of Receipt
O44EPort of Loading/Airport of Departure
O44FPort of Discharge/Airport of Destination
O44BPlace of Final Destination/For Transportation to.../ Place of Delivery
O44CLatest Date of Shipment
O44DShipment Period
O45ADescription of Goods and/or Services
O46ADocuments Required
O47AAdditional Conditions
O48Period for Presentation
M49Confirmation Instructions
O78Instructions to the Paying/Accepting/Negotiating Bank
O57a'Advise Through' Bank
O72Sender to Receiver Information
O : Optinal           M : Mandatory

MT 720 Transfer of a Documentary Credit Rules

  • When the documentary credit message exceeds the maximum input message length, additional documentary credit information should be transmitted via one or more MT 721s.
  • Unless otherwise specified, a documentary credit advised to the beneficiary or another advising bank based on a SWIFT message constitutes an operative credit instrument.
  • For freely negotiable documentary credits, the Receiver must add sentences to the effect that:
  • The advice to the beneficiary must be presented at each negotiation.
  • The negotiating bank must note each negotiation on that advice.
  • To avoid misunderstandings, where possible, banks are to use Bank Identifier Codes rather than expressions such as ourselves ,yourselves ,us, or you.
  • If this message is used to transfer a non-bank issued documentary credit, field 50B must be present.
  • The transferring bank must transfer the documentary credit, including all its details, in a way that is clear and unambiguous to the beneficiary.

MT 720 Network Validated Rules

  • C1 Either field 39A or 39B, but not both, may be present
  • C2 When used, fields 42C and 42a must both be present
  • C3 Either fields 42C and 42a together, or field 42M alone, or field 42P alone may be present. No other combination of these fields is allowed.
  • C4 Either field 44C or 44D, but not both, may be present
  • C5 Either field 52a “Issuing Bank” or field 50B “Non-Bank Issuer”, but not both, must be present.