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SWIFT and SWIFT/BIC Codes Explained

What Is SWIFT?

SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a strategic, global member-owned cooperative and the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services.

Founded in 1973, it was created in order to replace the older telex system. SWIFT connects over 11,000 banks and financial institutions in over 200 countries and is governed by the G-10 central banks, meaning those of Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, and Switzerland.

The central banks of other major economies also play an important role in SWIFT, including those of Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, and Turkey. SWIFT is crucial to the functioning of the global economy, allowing it to run smoothly through secure financial messaging between banks all over the world, and — amongst other things — easing secure international money transfers.

What Is a SWIFT Code?

A SWIFT code is an alphanumeric code to identify specific banks around the world. It is a type of Bank Identification Code (BIC), and the two terms are often used interchangeably. The SWIFT code, or a variation on it, is an important part of international money transfers. SWIFT codes are often used for international wire transfers and currency exchanges.

SWIFT codes are used to identify the recipient’s bank network, and when used together with other information like bank identifiers and account numbers, they can verify exactly where transferred money should be deposited. Entering a SWIFT code allows for the faster and easier exchange and deposit of currency around the world.

SWIFT codes are made up of several different areas. The first four characters are letters and specify the bank’s name. The next two characters are also letters and define the country code where the bank is located. The next two characters are alphanumeric and help to specify the bank’s location. There may be a final three alphanumeric characters that provide further details on the bank.

SWIFT codes are related to bank identifiers, BIC, IBAN, ACH, SWIFT-BIC, SWIFT ID, CLABE, Canadian transit numbers, routing numbers, account numbers and sort codes.

Bank SWIFT Codes

To see the SWIFT codes of individual banks in countries such as the US, UK, Canada, and the Philippines, take a look at the lists below:

Frequently Asked Questions about SWIFT

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