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What is a SWIFT Code?

Swift code or also commonly known as BIC Code is a standard format to uniquely identify a bank, financial institution and non-financial institution. This standard approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). BIC stands for Business Identifier Codes.

The codes are widely used when transferring money between banks, particularly for international wire transfers or telegraphic transfer. Other uses include to transmit messages between financial institutions and banks.

The Swift code can be either 8 or 11 characters long, and 8 digits code refers to the primary office. The code consists of 4 separate section, and the format arrange in the following manner;

AAAA BB CC DDD

  • The first 4 characters ("AAAA") specify the institution. Only letters.
  • The next 2 characters ("BB") specify the country where the instituions located. The code follows the format of ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code.
  • The next 2 characters ("CC") specify the instiution's location. Can be letters and digits. Passive participants will have "1" in the second character,
  • The last 3 characters ("DDD") specify the institution's branch. This section is an optional. A 'XXX' refers to a primary office. Can be letters and digits.

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