What is a BIC / SWIFT code?

What is a BIC / SWIFT code?

When would I need a BIC or SWIFT code?

2 minute read

BIC (or SWIFT) codes are used when you make an international transfer using the SWIFT system. It can sometimes be confusing trying to establish where to find the two codes along with the difference between them, and you may have heard of either a BIC or SWIFT code before but not the other.


Are BIC and SWIFT codes different?

No, BIC and SWIFT codes are exactly the same thing. Whether they are known as BIC or SWIFT depends entirely on the bank or financial institution. It is worth noting that the institution you send money from may use one term and the recipient may use the other, which unfortunately can add to the confusion.


How many digits does a BIC SWIFT code contain?

All SWIFT/BIC codes contain 8-11 characters, typically arranged in the following format:

4 digit bank code – 2 digit country code – 2 digit location code – 3 digit branch code (optional)

It’s worth noting that the 3 digit branch code is optional, and so will only be featured by some banks or financial institutions.


Where can I find my SWIFT/BIC code?

You will need to know your recipient’s BIC/SWIFT code in order to send money overseas to their bank account. Inversely, your BIC/SWIFT code will also be required by people wanting to send you money from overseas.

Your BIC / SWIFT code can typically be found on your latest banking statement or from your online banking platform, while you will need to request the BIC / SWIFT code of your recipient if you wish to make a payment to them. If you are unable to find either yours or your recipient’s BIC/SWIFT code, your bank will be able to assist.


When will I need a BIC/SWIFT code?

You will need a BIC/SWIFT code whenever you make a payment to a bank in a different country to your bank. The majority of banks will charge a fee to send money abroad, adding a large cost on top of your transfer.

Fortunately, with an international payments account from moneycorp, you can enjoy competitive exchange rates, as well as no transfer fees when you make an online money transfer.