BIC or SWIFT code – What they are and what they are for

To make a international bank transfer Besides of International Bank Account Number or WERE GOING, BIC (Bank Identifier Code) or also called SWIFT (Society for Woldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is also required.

The SWIFT code is an alphanumeric code that has helped facilitate international transaction processes

What is a bank’s BIC or SWIFT code?

The BIC code or BIC code is a combination of alphanumeric characters used to make international money transfers. Its purpose is to give greater security and effectiveness when money is sent to a foreign bank, avoiding confusion or errors, which conclude in the loss of money and time.

In case you are curious or confused, it is also called SWIFT code. This is the name of the organization that is in charge of financial communications between banks, that is, Society for Woldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, although the most correct thing is to call it BIC. However, the SWIFT denomination has been so widespread that they no longer distinguish between one and the other.

BIC code structure: What do the digits mean?

Each bank has its own SWIFT codes. This is formed by between 8 and 11 characters with the following structure:

  • First 4 numbers: They are used to identify the bank in question, the bank code.
  • 2 following numbers: Indicate the country’s ISO code.
  • Next 2: They are used to mark the location of the entity.
  • Optional: Sometimes you will find 3 more numbers that indicate the bank’s branch.

But the most common is that the BIC code of a bank actually has 11 characters, however, when they refer to the central office, 8 characters are used as is the case of the BBVA code in Madrid that would be BBVAESMM.

When and what is the SWIFT / BIC code used in a bank transfer?

In a bank transfer the SWIFT / BIC code is used to make them much safer and avoid errors. But this code is also used so that the transaction as such arrives safely to the destination account at one time.

And it is that because economic transactions are being made with increasing recurrence through the network, this kind of codes are more necessary for a higher level of protection, legality and efficiency.

So When is this code used? As already mentioned, it is used when making money movements, whether payments or transfers related to the international arena. Failure to include this code correctly would run the risk that the payment did not arrive correctly, or that if a payment is received, it cannot arrive in the correct way.

For international transfers, other information such as the name or business name of the beneficiary, the account number and its BIC code are also required. You must also indicate the currency in which the transfer will be made and indicate who will be responsible for the commissions.