I am currently trying to transfer payment to a Tanzanian tour company for an upcoming trip. The details they have given me for the transfer include the details of 2 banks. The Standard Chartered Bank, in America, which they have referred to as the 'routing bank'; and a bank in Tanzania with which the tour company holds an account.

When I tried to make an international transfer from my financial institution, their transfer forms only have room for the details of one bank. So they (and I) were unsure which bank's details should be used, and what to do with the rest of the bank and account information. They also suggested that they couldn't guarantee that if it didn't work I wouldn't be hit for 2 lots of dishonour fees.

Is this arrangement of a 'routing bank' common? (and is there perhaps another name for it?)

How should I go about making the transfer given the arrangement does not match with the transfer forms?

NB. I am in Australia, but I imagine this issue could be found elsewhere.

2 Answers 2


In international transfers, there are typically 4 Banks involved, at times more than 4.

The Banks Involved are;
- Your Bank [Sender]
- Your [Sender's] Banks Correspondant
- Beneficiary [Receiver] Banks Correspondant
- Beneficiary Bank

Typically the correspondant banks are also call routing banks.
So essentially the SCB in America is correspondant Bank of the Bank in Tanzania. As you are trying to make a payment from Bank in Australia, your Bank may not know any Bank in Tanzania, but will definately know a bank in US.

The way the payment would work in this case is;
- Say ANZ your bank will send a payment to Citi Bank in US.
- Here Citi is ANZ correspondant in US.
- Citi US will transfer funds to SCB US [via local clearing ACH/CHIPS etc]
- SCB US wil confirm receipt of payment and advise Bank in Tanzania
- Bank in Tanzania will credit the beneficiary.

If you do not give the details of routing bank, chances are high that payment can get rejected at later stage and you will be charged both for origination and for refund.
If you walk into a Branch that does International payments, they may be able to help you better,

Other option to check with your tour operator if he takes Credit Card Payments, if so just create a virtual card [or get a other card for onetime use, to avoid fraud] and make the payment


Everything in the answer provided by @Dheer seems correct to me. It isn't unusual for a bank to work with a correspondant bank, even within the same country. My example is in the U.S.A., but it could be true anywhere.

For example, Amalgamated Savings Bank of New York (the only labor union owned bank, since 1908, and my former neighborhood bank), had an identification number in the same format as correspondant, or routing banks, but it was not a routing bank itself. To do any sort of wire transfer, it was necessary to go through ASBNY's correspondant bank. ASBNY had pre-printed forms that were made for that, which had two sets of routing numbers. One had the number for ASBNY, the other had the major "money center" bank's routing number just above it and staggered to the side.

Whenever I wanted to do any sort of wire transaction, banks seemed quite familiar with this arrangement, even if they were money center banks themselves. So there were sometimes only three banks involved:

My bank, the correspondant bank, and the destination bank;
My bank, the correspondant bank, the destination bank's routing bank, and the destination bank.

In this situation, make sure to go to a branch of your bank that does international payments. ALSO try to confirm whether you have all the bank numbers correctly. You have your bank's, the U.S. correspondant bank's number and the Tanzanian bank's number. Are you certain that there isn't a fourth number, for the Tanzanian bank's correspondent bank? Make certain of that. Perhaps their correspondant bank is also that same one in the U.S. as your bank's.

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