What is the difference between a SWIFT payment and a Direct payment?

When a payment occurs between financial institutions that are not on the same payment network, they have to transfer funds via the SWIFT network. The general rule of thumb (with some exceptions) is that if a payment is made within the borders of the country, in the currency of the country, it is made as a Direct payment. On the flip side, if the payment crosses a border and is in a different currency to the country being paid to, it usually goes via SWIFT. SWIFT fees are normally much higher than local payment fees.