What are BIC and SWIFT bank codes?
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What are BIC and SWIFT bank codes?

Just like everything in the modern world, making bank transfers, and especially international ones should be a simple and quick thing to do. However, instructing such a transaction can be still tricky and challenging with all the confusing information and data to be provided. So let’s look at one of the crucial parts of creating a cross-border transfer – the SWIFT/BIC code. Genome‘s team will discuss what is this mysterious number, why it is needed, and where to find it. 

What is a SWIFT code used for?

To understand it better, a SWIFT number can be compared to a postal code. In other words, this number is used to instruct an international transfer correctly and send the funds to the recipient’s bank. You’ll need a SWIFT code any time you’re making or receiving a payment.

What does a SWIFT code look like?

A SWIFT code format is between 8 and 11 characters long. This combination consists both of letters and numbers. Let’s have a look at the next SWIFT code example: 

LOYDGB2LXXX

  • LOYD – 4-character bank code which is a shortened version of the bank’s name. The full name of the current bank is Lloyds Bank. 
  • GB – 2-character bank’s country code. In this case, it’s Great Britain
  • 2L – 2-character location code that signifies the city with the bank’s main office. Here it’s London.  
  • XXX – 3-character branch code. It can either be missing (then the SWIFT number will only have 8 symbols) or showing as XXX (as in our example) instead of figures. If the numbers identifying the branch are not there, then the bank is responsible for moving funds to the necessary account. 

How do I find a SWIFT code?

A SWIFT number can always be found in your official bank statements. Additionally, you can contact your local bank branch or customer support team and request this information. Nowadays, the most convenient and speedy way to check your SWIFT code is going to the Account details tab in your financial provider’s mobile or web application. 

One more way to check your SWIFT number is to examine official sources. On the next websites, you can look for registered BIC/SWIFT codes and even get additional information on some banks and their branches: 

How do I find a BIC code?

BIC and SWIFT numbers are the same, so you can also find your BIC in your bank’s mobile or web application, in your official bank statements, or by contacting your financial provider directly. 

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Is a BIC code the same as a SWIFT code?

SWIFT and BIC numbers are the same and we’ll now explain where the confusion comes from. SWIFT is a worldwide messaging network that works in 212 countries. It makes it the largest and most widely used system for processing international transfers. As it was established, each bank in this system received its unique BIC – Bank Identifier Code. 

Thus, SWIFT and BIC numbers are the same terms and the first one is actually used inappropriately. However, because BIC code is needed to make a SWIFT transfer, the SWIFT number is a more common term now. You can also come across such terms as SWIFT ID or SWIFT identifier code that is also used quite often. 

Is a SWIFT code the same as an IBAN?

SWIFT number and IBAN are different things. While SWIFT/BIC code identifies the bank, the IBAN identifies a unique bank account. IBAN stands for an International Bank Account Number. That is, for sending a cross-border transfer, you’d need both IBAN and BIC/SWIFT codes. If you do not provide an IBAN, the funds can be stuck with the bank and won’t settle to the necessary bank account.

For additional information on what is an IBAN and how to obtain one with Genome, check our blog post. 

Are BIC and SWIFT the same?

Yes, SWIFT/BIC codes are different names for the same number. This code helps to find the necessary bank to send money using the SWIFT transfer. In fact, the SWIFT number is an incorrect term here. The transaction is made with the help of the SWIFT system, but using BIC number – Bank Identifier Code.

How do BIC/SWIFT codes actually work?

BIC/SWIFT numbers are just the combination of characters signifying a specific bank in a SWIFT system. These codes were implemented to make sure that the funds reach the correct bank in the vast SWIFT network. That is why when instructing a transfer, you’d need a SWIFT ID of the recipient’s bank. 

When do you use a BIC/SWIFT code?

BIC/SWIFT number was created to instruct and receive international transfers correctly. As the SWIFT network unifies thousands of financial institutions, all of them can be differentiated by their BIC. SWIFT code allows sending and receiving the money to the payee’s bank without any mistakes. Before making a transaction, double-check if you have the correct BIC number to avoid any delays with the transfer. If the SWIFT code is wrong, your funds may be stuck in between the banks for days. 

Is there a fee for using BIC/SWIFT numbers?

Yes, the fees for processing international transactions are quite large and can reach up to $50. That is why anytime you use your SWIFT/BIC code for cross-border transfer, you’d need to pay extra money. While sending a SWIFT payment, mostly 1-3 intermediary banks are involved and they have their service charges as well.

As for Genome, we offer our personal and business wallet users both SWIFT transfers for international payments and SEPA transfers – to send money within the eurozone. We also provide instant internal transfers between Genome users. Find out more on our website.

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FAQ

How do I find my SWIFT/BIC code?

You can either find them in official bank statements or request this information from your bank. BIC/SWIFT number is also available in mobile/web applications of your financial provider.

Finally, you can check the official websites listed prior in the article to make sure your SWIFT code is correct.

What is the difference between a BIC and SWIFT code?

You may be wondering what is a BIC code and SWIFT. The answer is: they are no different and serve as unique identifiers of your bank within the SWIFT system. SWIFT code is a mistaken name for a BIC – Bank Identifier Code because the last one is used for SWIFT transfers.

What is the SWIFT code?

SWIFT number is another name for a BIC code. Bank Identifier Code is a special bank’s number to instruct cross-border transactions within the SWIFT system.

What does BIC mean?

BIC number means Bank Identifier Code. It is used for making and processing international transfers correctly. These 8 or 11 symbols include the name of the bank, its location (country), the city where the main bank’s office is situated, and a specific bank’s branch (optional).