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International Payments Glossary

If you’re new to American Express® FX International Payments, or come across an expression you don’t understand, simply refer to this list of terms.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

ACH/Direct Debit

ACH (Automated Clearing House), or Direct Debit, refers to a settlement method that authorizes American Express to debit funds from your selected business checking account to pay for your outgoing wire or outgoing draft.

Approve/Dual Verify

A process used to confirm that a payment or modification is being conducted truthfully and within company regulations and policy. Up to two levels of approval are available, depending on your requirements. An approver may also have an approval amount, meaning they can only authorize payments up to that amount (or the local currency equivalent).

Authorized Officer/Signatory

The single party with authority to make or request changes to the FX International Payments account; this person can request user changes, update addresses, approve payments and set user permissions. Find out more in the User Administration or Approving a Payment tutorials.

BIC/Bank Identifier Code

A bank's unique identification code. Often, the full address of the payee's bank can substitute for a BIC. A BIC is also called a SWIFT code. Other BIC Codes used for sending outgoing Wire Transfers are ABA, Fed Wire (U.S.), BLZ Code (Germany), Sort Code (UK).

Cash Letter

A Cash Letter is a foreign currency-denominated check that you provide to American Express.The amount is then converted to U.S. Dollars and the amount credited to your business checking account. To find out more, go to the Incoming FX International Payments tutorial.

Create a Payment

Here you can request a foreign exchange quote for an Telegraphic Transfer or Outgoing Draft and input Beneficiary payment instructions. You can also complete a Drawdown against a Forward Contract.

Creation Date

The date on which a transaction is initiated.

Cross Currency Transaction

A transaction that involves the simultaneous buying and selling of two currencies, e.g. Euros being used to purchase Japanese Yen.


The process of taking delivery of a payment (partial or entire amount) from an existing contract, such as a Forward Contract or an Intra Day Spot Contract.

Dual Verification

An account security feature that allows businesses to have separate creators and approvers for wire payments and other actions (e.g. adding users and payees).


A system operated by the Federal Reserve System which can be used for a same day transfer of funds, for any payment instructions created. Referred to in the FX International Payments website as 'Wire to Amex’.

File Upload

An FX International Payments platform feature that lets you upload multiple wire and/or draft payments into the platform at once, through an Excel-formatted file. To find out more, go to the File Uploads tutorial.

Fixed Forward Contract

An agreement by you to purchase a set amount of foreign currency on a date up to one year in the future.

Foreign Currency Draft

An American Express guaranteed cheque payable in a currency other than that of the country from which you are conducting business.

Foreign Exchange (FX) Quote

The rate at which one currency may be converted into another (within a 'Spot' value period).

Forward Drawdown

The process of creating an Telegraphic Transfer from an existing Forward Contract and inputting Beneficiary payment instructions to be settled on the appropriate Value Date. Whilst Window Drawdowns can be paid within the predetermined window of time, Fixed Drawdowns will be settled on the Maturity Date of the Forward Contract.

Forward Points

Different countries generally have different interest rates. When buying one currency against another, for delivery at a future date, the bank or broker will adjust the spot price to take this variation into account. The sale of a low yielding currency (in a low interest-rate economy) and the purchase of a high yielding one will be reflected in a higher net price than the spot rate. This is described as "forward points on" for the forward adjustment.


Those who transact in Forward Contracts are required by applicable U.S. laws to register for a Global Markets Entity Identifier (GMEI) code. This code is used to confirm the identity of parties in financial transactions.

Good Funds

Monies that are unconditionally and freely available for use.

Hold for Batch

A system feature that allows you to send multiple payments in the same currency with the same exchange rate. By selecting this option within the platform Request a Quote page, you can enter all of the payments and submit them simultaneously to the Batch Management queue. Please note: the rate is not locked in until the final designated user approves the batch. To find out more, go to the Batch Management tutorial.

IBAN/International Bank Account Number

A combination of 16-34 alphanumeric characters that identifies an account at a particular bank and branch in a specific country. An IBAN is unique to each payee's account – it should include the payee's country code, bank code, routing code and individual bank account number. Ask your payee for more details on their IBAN (if applicable). For more information on specific currency requirements, click here.


A digital mailbox set up within the FX International Payments website. Here you’ll find payment confirmations, invoices, rate alerts, select information and newsletters from American Express. The information can be viewed by all users with access to the account. To find out more, go to the Inbox tutorial.

Incoming Wire

Foreign electronic funds sent to FX International Payments by your overseas payer (in a currency other than U.S. Dollars), that are converted to USD and credited to your business’s checking account. You’ll be quoted an indicative exchange rate subject to the receipt and clearance of the funds in an American Express bank account. To find out more, go to the Incoming FX International Payments tutorial.

Indicative Rate

A non-binding FX quote provided when a live rate is unavailable. A binding FX quote can be obtained the next business day. You are not committed to the payment and have the ability to request confirmation prior to accepting or rejecting the quote.

Intermediary Bank

Payments may pass through an intermediary bank before reaching the payee's bank. For example, a USD payment sent to India might be routed through a U.S. intermediary bank that has a relationship with the payee’s bank in India.

Internal Alert Options

This allows you to set-up internal e-mail, fax or SMS notifications for things like payment confirmations, rate changes etc.

Internal Comments/Questions

Allows you to submit additional comments or questions on a particular payment to American Express FX International Payments.

Intra Day Spot

An FX tool that allows you to lock in a foreign currency rate before designating a payee. This locked-in rate can then be applied to one or several payments and must be drawn down before the end of the business day. Please note, this feature is only available for foreign currency transactions. To find out more, go to the Intra Day Spot Contract tutorial.

Local Currency

A country's domestic currency, such as the U.S. Dollar in the United States or the Japanese Yen in Japan. For more information on specific currency requirements, click here.

Maturity Date

The time of settlement for a transaction that is predetermined by a forward or spot contract.

Modify Queue

When a user saves a payment for later, or an authorized approver edits a payment, it automatically moves to the Modify Queue to await further action. Please note, your payment is not final until it is approved and submitted for processing. To find out more, go to the Modifying a Payment tutorial.

Next Day Value

A method of buying or selling foreign currency in which the value date follows one working day of the trade date. Products commonly "sold at next day value" are Outgoing Wire Transfers.

'Notes to Payee' Field

When sending a payment, use this free-form text field to capture certain details you'd like the payee to know, such as invoice numbers or international banking requirements – like a reason code or remittance notes. For more information on specific currency requirements, click here.

'Notes to You' Field

While sending a payment, use this free-form text field to include any private information about the transaction for your records. Later, you can view these notes in the Payment History feature on our online platform (only you can view these notes). To find out more, go to the Creating a Spot Payment or Payment History tutorials.

Outgoing Draft

A paper check made out in your payee’s desired foreign currency that can be delivered to you overnight via UPS, and that you then send along to your payee. These drafts are an alternative to Telegraphic Transfers when payee banking details are unknown. Please note, additional fees may apply when using outgoing drafts. To find out more, go to the Creating a Spot Payment tutorial.

Outgoing Wire Transfer

Electronic transfer of funds from your U.S. business checking account in which the funds are sent to your payee’s account in a foreign country. To find out more, go to the Creating a Spot Payment tutorial.


Each individual has a unique password, which is used in conjunction with an individual's User ID to log in to the FX International Payments website. Each user is able to change their password at any time, although in the interest of security, each user is required to change their password every 30 days. To find out more, go to the Changing Your Password tutorial.


This refers to your customers and payees/beneficiaries.


The recipient of an outgoing payment (e.g. the owner of the bank account to which your funds are being transferred). To find out more, go to the Creating & Managing Payees tutorial.

Payment History

An FX International Payments platform feature that lets you view past payments by payment reference, date range, payee, status, user ID, currency, amount and local currency equivalent. These details can be printed or exported. To find out more, go to the Payment History tutorial.

Payment Notes

Optional additional details or information added to the payee/beneficiary payment.

Payment Reference Number

A unique 16-digit FX International Payments Reference Number that is applied to every payment

Payment Scheduling

An online tool for that allows you to plan forthcoming payments so that funds are automatically sent as per your set schedule. To find out more, go to the Payment Scheduling tutorial.

Rate Alert

FX International Payments platform feature that lets you request automated email updates when a currency you select reaches a specific rate you've designated. To find out more, go to the Rate Alerts tutorial.


FX International Payment transactions viewable by date range, currency, status, and type that can be exported into an Excel document. To find out more, go to the Reporting tutorial.

Routing Number/ABA Routing Code

Used to identify a financial institution and specific bank branch where an account is held.

Same Day Value

A method of buying or selling foreign currency where the value date is the same day as the trade date. A products commonly "sold at same day value" is an Outgoing Wire Transfer (however, this can only be done in certain currency/banking time zones).

Settlement Method

The methods of payment used to fund a Wire Transfer, Draft or Forward Contract, that include:

Spot Payment

A payment that typically reaches your payee's account 2 business days after you pay for the transaction. Delivery times for spot payments may be greater than two days, and vary by currency and country. To find out more, go to the Creating a Spot Payment tutorial.

Spot/Spot Value

A method of buying or selling foreign currency in which the value date is within two working days of the trade date (with the exception of USD and CAD payments to the U.S. and Canada respectively. In these cases, the value date could be within one working day of the trade date). Products commonly "sold at spot" include Foreign Currency Drafts and Outgoing Wire Transfers.


Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) codes are unique codes that allow for transactions and communications among banks. Each bank has a unique SWIFT code –also known as a BIC Code.

Telegraphic Transfer

An electronic payment order issued through bank channels

Template/Manage Templates Section

Use this tool to set up and send similar payments more efficiently. Create payment templates that contain set information, including payment amount, payee, and bank details, for use in future payments. To find out more, go to the Creating & Managing Templates tutorial.

Username/User ID

A user's unique identification information, which is used to log into the FX International Payments platform.

User Permissions and Authorizations

Roles and privileges within the FX International Payments platform that can be given to individual users, enabling them to perform certain duties, such as creating payees or approving payments. To find out more, go to the User Administration tutorial.

Value Date

Estimated date that funds will arrive in the payee's account. Value dates may be impacted by holidays, after-hour orders and the amount of your payment. Click here for a list of holidays that may impact payments.

Window Forward Contracts

An FX product that allows you to lock in an exchange rate and total cost of a foreign currency payment at the time of trading and to draw down multiple times throughout the contract's life, at the agreed-upon rate (up to a year in the future). To find out more, go to the Forward Contracts tutorial.

Wire Funds

A domestic wire sent from your bank directly to American Express' bank to fund the foreign transaction.

Wire Transfer

Electronic funds transfer from a payer to a payee's bank account.

1031 Payment

A settlement method that allows American Express to immediately debit your business checking account to fund a payment; this method requires being set up by your bank Account Manager and can accelerate our release of your payment.

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