What is a BIC / SWIFT code?
BIC or SWIFT codes are used to identify banks and financial institutions when you send and receive money internationally.
BIC stands for Bank Identifier Code, and SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably.
Why do I need a BIC / SWIFT code for an international transfer?
BIC / SWIFT codes help to identify banks and financial institution and where they are in the world.
By communicating the bank's information, BIC / SWIFT codes make sure that international money transfers get to the right bank account safely.
What does a BIC / SWIFT code look like?
BIC / SWIFT codes contain 8-11 characters. They identify the city, country, bank and branch of your bank. The code may look something like this: AAAABBCCXXX
Here's an explanation of the format:
- AAAA: a 4-letter bank code that’s usually a shortened version of your bank’s name
- BB: a 2-letter country code that represents the country the bank is in
- CC: a 2-character location code for the place where the bank’s head office is. It’s made up of letters and numbers.
- XXX: a 3-digit branch code that specifies the branch of the bank, usually the bank’s headquarters. These last 3 digits are optional though.
Where can I find my BIC / SWIFT code?
You'll find your BIC / SWIFT code on your paper or digital bank statement.