Frequently asked questions about SWIFT/BIC codes | International Transfer

  • 06 January, 2022
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Frequently asked questions about SWIFT/BIC codes

What is a SWIFT code?
A SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) code is an 8-11 character long, standard format code that identifies banks and financial institutions worldwide. Also called a SWIFT number, this code facilitates the transfer of money between banks and is needed for both international wires and SEPA payments.

What is a BIC code?
BIC stands for Bank Identifier Code. It is an 8 to 11-character code that identifies banks globally. BIC codes are used to send money between banks to ensure money is directed to the right place.

What’s the difference between SWIFT and BIC codes?
SWIFT and BIC codes mean the same thing and the terms are used interchangeably. Both SWIFT and BIC codes identify banks and financial institutions and are used for money transfers.

Are SWIFT codes and an IBAN the same thing?
SWIFT codes and an IBAN are not the same thing but serve a similar purpose. Both SWIFT codes and IBAN’s are used during international transactions, however, a SWIFT code identifies the location of a specific bank while an IBAN (International Bank Account Number) identifies the individual account.

Do you need a SWIFT code for international money transfers?
Yes, you will need a SWIFT code to make an international money transfer. This code helps ensure your money transfer arrives at the intended location.

How are SEPA and SWIFT/BIC codes connected?
SEPA (Single Europe Payments Area) allows you to transfer euros within the European community. You will usually be prompted to provide a SWIFT code when you send or receive money internationally with SEPA. While SWIFT transfers can be placed using various currencies, SEPA payments only transfer euros.

Is a SWIFT code the same for all branches?
This varies by bank. Some banks use the same SWIFT code for all their branches while other banks designate a unique SWIFT code for each branch. If you are unsure of which code to use, you can typically use the bank’s head office SWIFT code to send money.