What is BIC or SWIFT code?

SWIFT code (also known as SWIFT-BIC, BIC code or ISO 9362) is a standard format of Bank Identifier Codes approved by the International Standard Organization (ISO). It is the unique identification code of a particular bank. These codes are used when transferring money between banks, particularly for international Wire Transfers, and also for the exchange of other messages between banks. The codes can sometimes be found on account statements.

The Bank Identifier Code or BIC identifies the payment beneficiary’s bank — the bank that will receive the funds transfer. A BIC can be combined with the details provided by the

IBAN to provide automated international funds transfers.

Although BIC is often referred to by bankers as a SWIFT code or SWIFT address, do note that BIC is slightly different from SWIFT§. SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication – a banking industry intranet for worldwide communications and funds transfer. You can find bank payment codes or Bank Identifier Codes in the SWIFT BIC online database of worldwide banks using the form below:

BIC        or Bank Name:

Unlike the modern IBAN, the telex-era SWIFT (or BIC as it is now known) does not include a check sum for automatic validation. Fortunately, all banks doing regular international business have their full BIC details listed in the SWIFT online database shown above; access is free.

§ Technical details: BIC comes in either an eight (8) or eleven (11) character format with the digit 1 always in the eighth position e.g. PORA ITR1. SWIFT codes come in a similar eight or eleven character format with any alphanumeric character except 1 in the eighth position e.g.

DEUT DEDK 390.