I'm interested in a conceptual explanation at the accounting level, i.e. who owes who what during the process.

I couldn't find anything on the web or on YouTube. It's very cumbersome to describe in words or even in a diagram because there are many different parties involved, and many steps.

I think you need a series of pictures using a familiar metaphor like T-accounts.

Is there a better way?

  • Does this answer your question? How do wire transfers get settled?
    – Freiheit
    Apr 28 '20 at 13:32
  • @Freiheit No, I'm interested in finding a way to explain the process conceptually and visually. Also, that question deals with domestic transfers, not international Apr 28 '20 at 13:53

The best way I've found is an animated diagram where you can step through the process on your own time. It starts simply and adds detail incrementally. It uses the familiar accounting metaphor "T-accounts" (assets left, liabilities right).

Here's an animated GIF version (steps are 2 seconds apart):

e.g. Sipho in South Africa sends $5 to Brock in USA to settle debt


Here's a visualization I wrote that you can step through on your own time:


Choose “Foreign wire” and press “Next step” to advance through the steps.

  • Please reveal your affiliation, and please stop posting the same poorly-received answer so many times (this must be the third one you've posted).
    – Flux
    Apr 28 '20 at 14:04
  • @Flux I assume you're talking about the Glitch reference? It's not an "affiliation", just a visualization hosted on an external service. Like a JS Fiddle or Codepen Apr 28 '20 at 20:02
  • I edited to make it clear it's something you made rather than an external reference. Apr 28 '20 at 21:35

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