WHAT IS A SWIFT CODE?
A SWIFT code is a standard Bank Identifier Code (BIC) format used to specify a particular bank or branch. These codes are used when transferring money between banks, particularly for international wire transfers. Banks also use these codes to exchange messages with each other.
SWIFT codes consist of 8 or 11 characters. All 11-digit codes refer to specific branches, while 8-digit codes (or those ending in ‘XXX’) refer to the head office. SWIFT codes have the following format:
YYYY BB CC DDD
✓ First 4 characters – bank code (letters only)
✓ Next 2 characters – ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code (letters only)
✓ Next 2 characters – location code, passive participant will have “1” in the second character (letters and digits)
✓ Last 3 characters – branch code, optional – ‘XXX’ for main office (letters and digits)
Swift code registries are maintained by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (“SWIFT”) and its headquarters are in La Hulpe, Belgium. SWIFT is the registered trademark of SWIFT SCRL with registered address at Avenue Adèle 1, B-1310 La Hulpe, Belgium.