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Fedwire® Offline Services Contingency Alternative Quick Reference Guide

Primary Use

The Fedwire® Funds and Fedwire® Securities "offline" service provides an important alternative to electronic access for customers having an infrequent need to use the Fedwire Services. Offline customers are typically lower-volume funds transfer customers, or customers that have securities holdings requiring relatively few transactions. In total, approximately 500 offline transactions are processed daily via telephone by staff at the Wholesale Operations Sites (WOS). These transactions are processed after completion of a multi-step, manual and highly secure verification procedure.

Use as a Contingency Tool1

The Fedwire Services' offline service is also used by customers with electronic access when they experience a disruption and need to process the most critical transactions during their disruption period. While the offline service has proven to be an effective tool in this specific business case, it is not designed or intended to support a broad based service disruption. Therefore, your institution is encouraged to consider other alternatives for processing Fedwire Funds or Fedwire Securities transactions over and above the offline service. While offline is a viable option of last resort to process a small number of critical transactions, it should not be viewed as a service that can support more than a few online institutions experiencing a disruption simultaneously. As such, these institutions should carefully prioritize their transactions since capacity to support these collective contingency needs may be limited.

Keep Information Current

  • Ensure that your institution maintains a current Fedwire Funds and/or a Fedwire Securities authorization form on file with your Wholesale Operations Site. These forms designate individuals who are authorized to conduct Fedwire offline transactions on behalf of your institution. For each contact listed on the authorization form, please provide both a primary and contingency telephone number. Fedwire authorization forms can be found by clicking on Forms in the top navigation and then selecting Wires for the Fedwire Services Forms.
  • Make sure your codeword list has been acknowledged with your Wholesale Operations Site and is readily available to authorized individuals.
  • Periodically review your institution's internal procedures for originating and verifying Fedwire transactions.

Know Procedures

  • Know the telephone number for your Wholesale Operations Site.
  • Familiarize your staff with procedures for accessing your institution's codeword list.
  • Ensure authorized individuals are well-trained on your institution’s internal procedures for origination and verification.
  • Consider originating periodic transactions via the offline service to exercise your internal procedures. Note: This is a best practice for many online customers. Current offline surcharges would apply, please visit the Service Fees page for more information on Fedwire Funds Service and Fedwire Securities Service fees.

Be Prepared

  • Have all necessary transaction information available prior to contacting the Wholesale Operations Site to originate an offline transaction.
  • Ensure that at least two authorized individuals are available at either the primary or contingency telephone number listed for them on your institution's Fedwire Funds and/or a Fedwire Securities authorization form. Also ensure that they're prepared to complete the origination and verification procedures required for each offline transaction.

General Suggestions for Institutions in a Contingency Situation

  • Alert your designated Wholesale Operations Site when a contingency situation arises. To the extent possible, it is helpful if information regarding the nature and severity of the contingency is provided.
  • If a problem is likely to result in an extension request, inform the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at (866) 895-5985, as soon as possible, to explain the problem in detail, the expected time needed to resolve it, and the dollar amount and number of transactions that need to be sent. In addition, ensure that authorized individuals are aware of the guidelines that need to be followed when requesting an extension to any of the published Fedwire operating hours:
  • Be prepared to prioritize your offline transactions to those that your institution deems as most critical, particularly later in the business day. It is also important to note that, depending on the extent and severity of a particular disruption, you may be asked to limit the number of offline transactions you originate at a given time.
  • During a widespread disruption, the offline service will process only value payments. Please be prepared to use alternative (i.e., non-Federal Reserve Bank) communication vehicles for information (non-value) messages such as draw downs.
  • Remember that transactions processed via the offline service take longer to originate and verify due to the manual authentication and verification procedures required to complete the transaction.


1 As outlined in the Fedwire Operating Circulars, Fedwire participants are responsible for developing their own contingency and recovery plans to ensure the resilience of their Fedwire operations. All financial institutions conducting critical payment transactions should have contingency plans in place and test them regularly to validate their effectiveness in the event of a service disruption.

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