Wire Transfer and Swift Code

Why do you need to have Swift Code to transfer the finds via wire transfer all the times?
This might be interesting question to ponder about. Here is some insight into the matter from though.
Let us first under what Wire Transfer is and the process behind Wire Transfer and as to why it need Swift or BIC code.

Wire transfer is a method of transferring money from one entity to another. A wire transfer can be made from one entity's bank account to the other entity's bank account, and by a transfer of cash at a cash office. (Reference. Wikipedia)

Process: Bank wire transfers are often the most expedient method for transferring funds between bank accounts. A bank wire transfer is effected as follows:

  1. The person wishing to do a transfer (or someone who he has appointed and empowered financially to act on his behalf) goes to the bank and gives the bank the order to transfer a certain amount of money. IBAN and BIC code are given as well so the bank knows where the money needs to be sent to.
  2. The sending bank transmits a message, via a secure system (such as SWIFT or Fedwire), to the receiving bank, requesting that it effect payment according to the instructions given.
  3. The message also includes settlement instructions. The actual transfer is not instantaneous: funds may take several hours or even days to move from the sender's account to the receiver's account.
  4. Either the banks involved must hold a reciprocal account with each other, or the payment must be sent to a bank with such an account, a correspondent bank, for further benefit to the ultimate recipient.

Information for International Wires
Wires going to foreign countries require different information depending on the receiving foreign country. All wire transfer payments destined for Europe should include the SWIFT Bank Identifier Code (SWIFT BIC), International Routing Code (IRC) as applicable, and
for participating countries the beneficiary’s International Bank Account Number (IBAN). Mexican banks require a CLABE number in addition to the SWIFT BIC.

1. SWIFT Bank Identifier Code (SWIFT BIC). The 8 or 11 character SWIFT BIC is a unique series of alpha numeric characters that help to identify a specific financial institution. The SWIFT BIC should be obtained from the beneficiary. To ensure timely delivery please be sure that International Outgoing wires include the SWIFT BIC where applicable.

2. International Routing Code (IRC): Some countries throughout the international banking community have created international routing codes, which are used in combination with the SWIFT BIC to aid in routing the payment through a main office to a branch. Each country has a specific name for their routing code (i.e., Sort Code in the United Kingdom, Canadian Payments Association Routing Numbers in Canada). Your beneficiary must provide the international routing code to facilitate receipt of an international payment. Sending a wire without the IRC number can delay the wire, or the receiving bank may return the wire when this number
is not included in the payment instructions, and additional fees may be assessed.

3. International Bank Account Number (IBAN): The IBAN varies by country/institution. Warning! Only the bank servicing an account can provide the correct IBAN of that account and must be obtained from the beneficiary of the wire. Sending a wire to a participating country without the IBAN can delay the wire, or the receiving bank may return the wire when the IBAN is not included in the payment instructions, and additional fees may be assessed.
Participating Countries that require an IBAN:

Andorra Greece New Caledonia
Austria Guadeloupe Norway
Belgium Hungary Poland
Bosnia and Herzegovina Iceland Portugal
Bulgaria Ireland (Republic of) Reunion Island
Croatia Isle of Man Romania
Cyprus Italy San Marion
Czech Republic Latvia Serbia and Montenegro
Denmark Liechtenstein Slovakia Republic
Estonia Lithuania Slovenia
Finland Luxembourg Spain
France Macedonia Sweden
French Guiana Malta Switzerland
French Polynesia Martinique Tunisia
Germany Monaco Turkey
Gibraltar Netherlands United Kingdom

4. Mexico CLABE Account Number: In addition to the SWIFT BIC Mexican banks now require an 18 digit CLABE account number be added to the Beneficiary instructions to ensure payment. The CLABE number is required on all Mexican Peso (MXN) and USD payments sent to Mexico. The CLABE account number must be obtained from the beneficiary. If the beneficiary does not have the CLABE account number, please have the beneficiary contact their bank. Wells Fargo does not provide or calculate the CLABE.
Sending a wire without a CLABE account number can delay the wire, or the receiving bank may return the wire if the CLABE is not included in the payment instructions, and additional fees may be assessed. Wells Fargo recommends that if you do not have a SWIFT BIC, IBAN, IRC, or Mexican CLABE number, that you contact the beneficiary of the wire. If the beneficiary does not have the needed information, please have the beneficiary contact their bank to obtain
the appropriate information. Sending International wires without the required information can cause the wire to be delayed, returned, orassessed additional fees.

For International outgoing wires only: When sending in foreign currency, please ensure the beneficiary’s account accepts the designated foreign currency. International foreign currency wires are generally less expensive to send as compared with International USD wires (the Wells Fargo wire fee is always less when the wire is sent in foreign currency and Wells Fargo does not charge a converting fee; we also offer competitive exchange rates.)


  1. I know the swift code. Is there a place I can enter the swift code to find the country of origin of a wire?

    1. Yes, you can do research about this in swift database on swift.com advanced search option.

  2. We are committed to providing high quality and great value foreign exchange services. We pride ourselves in the high standard of service we offer so your feedback is very important to us. We welcome your comments and compliments because they let us know we are offering a great service.

    Foreign Exchange

  3. is there a way to find out the cost of the irc from the UK to the USA

    1. I think it is fixed around $40 for most transactions from any bank.


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Swift Code Search - Finding Bank Swift Code

Decoding Swift Code - Know how about Bank Swift Codes

The best place to find your swift code is the swift website - swift.com. Once you go there you can use the search box to find the swift code for your specific Bank Branch if you have little idea about what the swift code for the bank in that particular country is. If you do not have any clue our swift code blog is here.
If you do, just enter the bank code and suffixed country code, say IN for India and US for United States there in box and press Return. You will find the list of Branches that are linked to Swift international and have been assigned any swift code or BIC number to that branch of the bank. Sometimes it also shows the swift codes for the bank which are not active any more they are not shown in the same color as others.
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