What is SWIFT/BIC code?

This article aims to explain what SWIFT and BIC are, their functions, and their importance in international finance. Additionally, it will provide insights into how to find SWIFT codes.

Apr 25, 2024

In international transactions, SWIFT and BIC are terms commonly mentioned. They play crucial roles in facilitating cross-border fund flows and transactions worldwide.

This article aims to explain what SWIFT and BIC are, their functions, and their importance in international finance. Additionally, it will provide insights into how to find SWIFT codes of a bank.

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Table of Contents
  1. What is SWIFT?
  2. What is BIC?
  3. The Role of SWIFT/BIC
  4. Importance of SWIFT/BIC in International Finance
  5. How to Find SWIFT Codes?
  6. Format of SWIFT Codes

1. What is SWIFT?

SWIFT, short for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is an international organization that provides a secure and standardized financial communication network.

2. What is BIC?

BIC, which stands for Bank Identifier Code, also known as SWIFT code, is an identification code defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It consists of 8 to 11 characters and uniquely identifies financial institutions. Each BIC contains information such as the country code, bank code, location code, and optionally, branch code.

3. The Role of SWIFT/BIC

The SWIFT/BIC system provides financial institutions with a secure and rapid communication channel, enabling them to conduct cross-border payments, transactions, and settlements worldwide. Through SWIFT/BIC, financial institutions can send and receive standardized financial messages, such as wire transfers, letters of credit, and bills of exchange, facilitating international trade and investment.

4. Importance of SWIFT/BIC in International Finance

SWIFT/BIC plays a crucial role in international finance by ensuring the security, reliability, and efficiency of global financial transactions. Whether for individuals or businesses involved in cross-border fund flows, SWIFT/BIC is an indispensable tool.

Additionally, many regulatory authorities around the world require financial institutions to use SWIFT/BIC in international transactions to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.

5. How to Obtain SWIFT Codes?

To find a SWIFT code, you can:

  • Inquire directly with your bank or financial institution.
  • Check the bank's official website, where information about SWIFT codes is usually provided for international remittances and transactions.
  • Use the "BIC Search" tool provided on the SWIFT official website to find the SWIFT code of a specific bank.

6. Format of SWIFT Codes

SWIFT codes typically consist of:

  • Country code (2 letters)
  • Location code (2 letters or numbers)
  • Branch code (optional, 3 letters or numbers)


  • France: FRXX123456
  • Germany: DEXX123456
  • Spain: ESXX123456

SWIFT/BIC, as a critical infrastructure in the international financial sector, contributes significantly to the stable operation and development of the global financial system.

By providing a secure and standardized communication network, they facilitate cross-border payments, transactions, and settlements, thereby facilitating international trade and investment.

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