SWIFT code(also known as ISO 9362, SWIFT-BIC, BIC code, SWIFT ID or SWIFT code) is a standard format of
Business Identifier Codes approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
It is a unique identification code for both financial and non-financial institutions.
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 SWIFT code is 8 or 11 characters, made up of:
- 4 letters: Institution Code or bank code.
- 2 letters: ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code
- 2 letters or digits: location code
- if the second character is “0″, then it is typically a test BIC as opposed to a BIC used on the live network.
- if the second character is “1″, then it denotes a passive participant in the SWIFT network
- if the second character is “2″, then it typically indicates a reverse billing BIC, where the recipient pays for the message as opposed to the more usual mode whereby the sender pays for the message.
- 3 letters or digits: branch code, optional (‘XXX’ for primary office)
Where an 8-digit code is given, it may be assumed that it refers to the primary office.
SWIFT Standards, a division of The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), handles the registration of these codes. For this reason, Business Identifier Codes (BICs) are often called SWIFT addresses or codes.