SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication Code. You need Swift code when you are thinking about transferring money from one bank to another especially for internationally wire transfers. Swift codes have also other uses such as banks use these codes when there is an exchange of messages between them.



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Normally there are eight or eleven characters in the Swift code. This is how the code is formatted.
 

WWWW XX YY ZZZ


This is a Swift code comprising of eleven characters. The first four characters are bank code and they are always letters. Next two characters are also letters and they are basically ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code. The two letter country code is assigned by International Organization for Standardization. Next comes the location code which comprises of two characters (can be numeric or alphabetic or a combination). Finally there are last three characters which denote the branch code. These characters include both letters and digits.
 

More than forty thousand “live” Swift codes exist currently. These live codes are mainly for the partners who are actively connected to the Swift network. In addition for manual transaction, there are more than fifty thousand codes which are mainly for the passive participants. Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication is responsible for handling the registration of Swift Codes. They are headquartered in Belgium.



Swift Code, BIC Code, ISO 9362


ISO 9362 standards address Swift Code or BIC code related matters. BIC or Bank Identifier Code is often used interchangeably. The main use of Swift code is seen when there is a transfer of money between banks particularly for international wire transfers or telegraphic transfers. Swift code helps in transfer of money from one bank to another. The best thing about this code is that you are not required to enter all details of bank such as bank name, address etc. You just need to provide Swift code and the amount you want to transfer.