What are BIC and SWIFT codes? (2024)

BIC stands for Business Identifier Code, having previously been known as a Bank Identification Code, or Bank Identifier Code. This is a unique code consisting of either 8 or 11 alphanumeric characters, and all banks and financial institutions are assigned one.

There are two types of BIC code - eight-character BIC codes (BIC8) and eleven-character BIC codes (BIC11):

- A BIC8 can identify a particular financial (or non-financial) institution in a country

- A BIC11 can be used to identify the branch of the institution

BIC was first developed in the 1970s by the financial community, and it was adopted as a standard for routing business transactions by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in the 1980s. In the decades that followed since its adoption by the ISO, BIC has become deeply embedded within the payments and foreign exchange infrastructure of the financial industry.

The ISO continues to regulate this code under the ISO 9362 standard. SWIFT, the world’s biggest provider of financial messaging services, is responsible for issuing BICs to financial and non-financial institutions.

What do the digits in a BIC SWIFT code represent?

The BIC/SWIFT code identifies your country, city, bank, and branch:

What are BIC and SWIFT codes? (1)

As we have seen, all SWIFT/BIC codes consist of 8-11 characters, depending on the country and bank in which you hold an account. These are typically arranged in the following format:

4 digit bank code – 2 digit country code – 2 digit location code – 3 digit branch code (optional)

Not all banks include the three-digit branch identifier code, which means that they’ll have a shorter, eight-character, BIC.

Is BIC the same as SWIFT?

A BIC code is the same as a SWIFT code; they are simply given different names by different banks and financial institutions. This can act as a source of confusion for customers.

It is worth noting that the country from which you make a payment may refer to the code by one of these names, whilst the recipient bank in another country, on the other hand, may refer to it by the other name.

You may come across the following terms whilst making an international bank transfer: SWIFT code, BIC/SWIFT code, SWIFT/BIC code and SWIFT identifier.

What do I need a BIC or SWIFT code for?

A BIC (or SWIFT code) is used for processing an international payment using the SWIFT system. Before you make an international bank transfer, you will need to provide your bank with your beneficiary’s bank details – and this will mean providing the correct SWIFT/BIC code.

This will enable your bank, which is responsible for processing this payment, to correctly identify the recipient bank and transfer the funds to the recipient bank account safely and securely.

You will also need to provide your own BIC or SWIFT code as a receiver code when someone is intending to send you an overseas payment. Your BIC code will ensure that you receive the funds into the correct account. It is not necessary to provide the beneficiary bank’s BIC for SEPA (single euro payments area) payments.

How to find my BIC / SWIFT code

You should be able to find your bank’s BIC/SWIFT code in your bank account statements. Your BIC code will be included on your paper statements, and you also have the option of finding your BIC code via online banking and your banking app.

When you make an international payment, you will need to find the BIC/SWIFT code of the recipient of your international payment, just as anyone sending money to you from abroad will need your code. If you are unable to find out the code from the recipient, your bank will be able to help you identify the SWIFT or BIC code of the foreign bank.

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What are BIC and SWIFT codes? (2024)


What are BIC and SWIFT codes? ›


SWIFT provides the main messaging network through which international payments are initiated. It also sells software and services to financial institutions, mostly for use on its proprietary "SWIFTNet", and assigns ISO 9362 Business Identifier Codes (BICs), popularly known as "Swift codes".
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › SWIFT
code, also called a SWIFT number, is used to identify banks and financial institutions worldwide. The term Business Identifier Code (BIC) is used interchangeably with SWIFT code and means the same thing.

How do I find my SWIFT and BIC code? ›

Most banks include their SWIFT code in customer account details and on their mobile apps, websites and statements. Otherwise, you can request it at your branch. You can find the bank's SWIFT/BIC code or an IBAN on some websites.

What is my bank BIC or SWIFT code? ›

How do you find your SWIFT/BIC code? To locate your SWIFT/BIC code, check any paper or digital banking statements, or look at your account details on your online banking profile. You can also search for your BIC code using a digital SWIFT/BIC search tool by providing your country and bank location data.

Is a BIC code the same as a routing number? ›

A SWIFT BIC code refers to a specific financial institution in an international transaction, whereas an IBAN number identifies an individual account and the country of business. It's the global equivalent to a bank account and an ABA routing number in the United States.

Do US banks have SWIFT codes? ›

Your full account number. For domestic wires, your routing number. For international wires, they need to use a Swift Code instead of the routing number. U.S. Bank's Swift Code is USBKUS44IMT.

Are SWIFT and BIC codes the same thing? ›

The term Business Identifier Code (BIC) is used interchangeably with SWIFT code and means the same thing. These codes facilitate money transfers between banks and are needed for international transfers and SEPA payments. To make an international money transfer from United Kingdom, you may need a SWIFT/BIC code.

What is an example of a SWIFT code? ›

An example of a swift code is AAAA-BB-CC-123. Here are the components of a SWIFT code: Bank code: Four letters representing the title of the bank, usually a shortened form of the bank's name. Country code: Two letters representing the country of the bank.

What is the BIC code for US bank? ›

USBKUS44 XXX BIC / SWIFT Code - U.S. BANK N.A. United States - Wise.

What is an example Swift BIC number? ›

A BIC is the Branch Identifier Code, also known as a SWIFT code, it helps overseas banks identify which bank to send money to. It's made up of 8 to 11 characters. Here's an example: HBUKGB4B - HBUK = Bank Code, GB = Country code, 4B = Location Code.

What is the Chase BIC code? ›

The SWIFT/BIC code for Chase Bank is CHASUS33XXX. However, Chase Bank uses different SWIFT/BIC codes for the different types of banking services it offers.

Can I use a routing number instead of a SWIFT code? ›

SWIFT or routing number? The most significant difference between SWIFT codes and routing numbers is whether a given payment is crossing international borders. If your payment is staying domestic, then the routing number will be used and, if the payment is going abroad, the SWIFT code will take the lead.

Do you need a SWIFT code for international transfer? ›

Do you need a SWIFT code for international money transfers? Yes, you will need a SWIFT code to make an international money transfer. This code helps ensure your money transfer arrives at the intended location.

What is BIC SWIFT code for Bank of America? ›


How do I find my SWIFT code? ›

How do I find my SWIFT code? You will typically be able to find your SWIFT code on bank statements and on your online or app banking. Most often it will be in the same place as your IBAN number.

What details do I need to receive an international bank transfer? ›

International: You need the recipient's name, address and bank information, including SWIFT code and account number. You can send in U.S. dollars or foreign currency; cutoff time is 5 p.m. Eastern and typically arrives in 1 to 2 business days. Foreign Currency Payments Guide for details.

What if my bank doesn't have a SWIFT code? ›

Not all banks and financial institutions use SWIFT codes. If yours doesn't, ask what number should be used in its place for sending or receiving international money transfers.

Where is my SWIFT code on my bank statement? ›

Bank Account Statement/Passbook - While checking your bank passbook, you can find your SWIFT code on the front page. The account statement issued by the bank also provides SWIFT code. Calling the bank - You can phone your bank's customer service line or directly speak with bank tellers and staff to get the SWIFT code.

What is the SWIFT code of a federal bank? ›

Routing Number. Federal Bank's SWIFT Code - FDRLINBBIBD.

How do I find my bank code? ›

In the United States, the bank code for financial transactions combines a routing number and a bank account number. The external bank identification routing number and bank account number are printed in MICR ink on the bottom of each check, with the routing number to the left of the bank account number.


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