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What is a SWIFT Code?


If you are going to be doing any sort of financial transactions with other parties, which could businesses as well as individuals, then the knowledge of SWIFT codes are essential. SWIFT is the shorter form of the full expansion which is – Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. SWIFT is an organization that exists to build technology that allows banks to do business with each other. One of the most important functions of SWIFT is to assign codes simply referred to as SWIFT codes to every bank in the world.

SWIFT codes are easy to understand if you think of it as a unique identifier that is attached to each and every bank. Banks will need to transact millions of instructions every day and deal with, depending on circumstances, hundreds of other banks. Given the global village situation we live our lives; it is quite possible that the transaction will be happening across borders. When something like this is being done, it is easy to expect at least some banks to have the same name.

In such scenarios, having duplicate names can have a lot of problems. Also, names are not standardized across the world and referring to each other becomes tricky. In such scenarios, having standard codes that is assigned by a neutral third party would be convenient. That is precisely the case with SWIFT codes. The reason why you should know about SWIFT codes is so that you can do business with other banks.

Whenever you want to transfer funds to an account, you will need the SWIFT code to do so. Without the SWIFT code, it would be not possible to transfer any funds since it is required mandatorily. The code itself is exactly 8 characters. In some cases, you may be provided with an 11 character SWIFT code. The 11 character codes are also valid, except that they refer to a particular branch within the network of that particular branch.

It is not mandatory that you have the branch SWIFT code because; the standard 8 character code is good enough to perform financial transactions. However, the option of providing the 11 character code does exist, and it is convenient for banks to have them provided by their customers during business transactions. Usually, you only need to call up the bank’s customer service center or visit their website to find out their SWIFT codes. Alternatively, a lot of websites provide this information.

What is a SWIFT Code?

SWIFT codes or Bank Identifier Codes (BIC) are unique identification codes for a particular bank. SWIFT or BIC codes are widely used to transfer messages and money between financial institutions, and mainly between banks.

How can you read / understand a SWIFT code?

Every SWIFT code consists of 8 or 11 characters. When a8-digits code is given, it refers to the primary bank office.

With a 8-digit SWIFT code, you can assume that it refers to the primary office.

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