What is a SWIFT Code: Everything You Need to Know

Irina Tsymbaliuk

If you have ever needed to make a bank transaction abroad, you have undoubtedly heard of SWIFT. Today, there are several international bank systems, among which SWIFT is the most widespread. It allows organizations from different countries to transfer payments to each other quickly, securely, and with a small fee. All the major banks use such a system that opens up an opportunity for bank clients to make international transactions. 

So, what is a bank SWIFT code, and what do you need to know about it? If you are far from the banking area but want to understand what a SWIFT code is, then this article is for you. You will learn about what it is, what is the purpose of this code, and where to find it.

Understanding Bank SWIFT Codes

So, what is a SWIFT code for a bank? It is wise to start with the meaning of the SWIFT. SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, and it provides a secure network that allows different financial institutions in 212 different countries to share transaction information. SWIFT is an easy-to-use and secure service that allows people to send funds to each other, even if their accounts are in different banks or different countries and currencies. 

Swift code is something that almost every receiving bank has, and this code often contains 11 characters. This character set is divided into the following groups to identify the bank:

  • Bank code: The first four letters are the bank identifier.
  • Country code: The next two letters are the country code.
  • Location code: The following two letters identify the location of the bank.
  • Branch code: The last three digits indicate the receiving branch.

The key purpose of SWIFT codes is to facilitate the procedure for international bank transfers, and thanks to such identifiers, the transfer procedure is faster and safer. SWIFT codes are also used to monitor financial transactions and facilitate communication between banks.

Sometimes, you may also face a question like, “What is a SWIFT number for a bank account?” Please note that a SWIFT code is not the same as an IBAN code, which also includes a bank account number, bank branch, bank name, country, and city. This code consists of numbers and letters that identify an account of a certain bank user.

As for payment processing, if we talk about SWIFT payments, they are not always sent immediately. SWIFT performs anti-fraud and anti-money laundering checks on every transaction. Such procedures can take time, but they make your payments more secure. 

SWIFT makes money by charging its bank members to use its services. This means that each bank or financial institution in the SWIFT network pays SWIFT a one-off fee plus an annual fee that depends on the types of payments they use. As for the bank clients, they are charged a small fee for each transaction, which is usually 3-5%, depending on the bank they use.

Check Out Ways How to Find SWIFT Codes 

Now you may wonder, “How do I find the SWIFT code for my bank or the bank I want to send my money to?” There is no problem in finding the bank's SWIFT code. In most cases, bank customers can find such information in their bank accounts. You can use the mobile app of your bank and find out such a code as well as your IBAN code in the info section. 

Also, such information can be found on the bank's official website. If there is no way to use the website or mobile app, you can also get such data at the bank's nearest branch. If nothing from it fits, there are various database sites that allow you to find what is a bank account SWIFT code online. All you need is to enter the bank's name, country, and city.

But what is the bank’s SWIFT number if you can't find anything using the above mentioned method? It is worth paying attention to the fact that not all banks or financial organizations provide transfer services with the SWIFT system. This is true for small or medium financial institutions. So, you need to check whether the bank uses such a system, and then you will be able to discover what is the SWIFT number of this precise institution. 


So, now you know what a SWIFT code is, its purposes, and where to find it. Pay attention that the question, "What is a SWIFT code for a bank account?" is incorrect, and you need to look for IBAN. SWIFT code, tells you the bank's branch info, and this system was specifically designed to simplify and organize international payments.

The most important point of SWIFT is its convenience and safety. The bank users get the opportunity to make international transactions in various currencies quickly and securely at low fees.


What is a BIC or SWIFT code?

A SWIFT or BIC (Business Identifier Code) can be used interchangeably. It is a unique code of the bank, which consists of 8 or 11 characters and is used when making payments abroad. Each bank that uses the SWIFT system has its identifier (number of certain and unique characters).

What is a SWIFT code in banking?

If we talk about SWIFT codes for banks, then this is an identification code that allows you to identify each bank or financial organization. Each group of characters characterizes certain information regarding the bank — bank name, country, location, and branch. Such a code allows banks to make international payments, as well as to track bank transactions, and facilitate communication between banks.

What is the SWIFT and IBAN code?

SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is a secure network that allows different banks and financial institutions in 212 different countries to exchange transaction information.

IBAN (International Bank Account Number) is a unique identification number for a bank account of a particular client that contains 34 characters. The IBAN includes all the information to verify the identity needed to transfer funds: account number, bank name, bank branch, and country code.

How do I find my bank’s SWIFT code?

There are several ways you can do this. You can receive this information in your bank's app. You can also find the Swift code on the official website of the bank or with the help of specialized database sites after you enter the needed info. Also, you can always get such data at your nearest bank’s branch.