We receive one or two questions every week about so-called "COT" codes allegedly needed to complete international wire transfers of funds. At one time, the acronym COT purportedly stood for "cost of transfer". Our research suggests that if you are asked for a COT code, your cost of the transfer could be a lot more than you expect. In fact, you can pretty much count on this definition: "COT" means you can "Count On Trouble".
The typical COT code Ask a Banker question reads something like these pleas for informaton:
“If I don't pay the COT Code charges, what will happen to my fund? Can I still request a banker's cheque? How much will the bank charge me? I'm in Malaysia and my funds are with a UK bank.”
“I have to transfer money form U.K. bank to an Indian bank online. Online transaction is asking COT code. What is this? In case I do not have the same, then how to proceed further?”
“Do I have to pay for a COT Code? If so how much should it cost?”
Virtually every one of the inquiries we've received involves a bank account in the United Kingdom and a funds transfer to or from a bank account in a country that is now or was formerly part of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Yet when we researched the term "COT code", we found no reference that remotely suggested that such codes are in legitimate use by banks. All we could find is references to scams and fraud, usually involving attempts to use the Internet to transfer funds. COT (Cost of Transfer) codes are frequently mentioned in variations on Nigerian "419" or advance-fee scams.
We did find one reference to "Code for Online Transfers." While it is true that you need to have the routing number or code of the bank to receive funds plus the name or account number of the recipient account at that bank in order to complete an interbank wire transfer of funds, you should not have to pay anyone to obtain that information. Your intended recipient should be able to provide you that information in order to receive the funds. If you need to make an international transfer of funds, deal directly with your bank or another established licensed funds transfer firm rather than attempt to use the Internet or unknown third parties.
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