Swift Code is a standard format of Bank Identifier Codes (BIC) and it is unique identification code for a particular bank. These codes are used when transferring money between banks, particularly for international wire transfers. Banks also used the codes for exchanging other messages between them.
The Swift code consists of 8 or 11 characters. When 8-digits code is given, it refers to the primary office. The code formatted as below;
AAAA BB CC DDD
- First 4 characters – bank code (only letters)
- Next 2 characters – ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code (only letters)
- Next 2 characters – location code (letters and digits) (passive participant will have “1” in the second character)
- Last 3 characters – branch code, optional (‘XXX’ for primary office) (letters and digits)
Currently, there are over 40,000 “live” Swift codes. The “live” codes are for the partners who are actively connected to the Swift network. On top of that, there are more than 50,000 additional codes, which are used for manual transactions. These additional codes are for the passive participants.
The registrations of Swift Codes are handled by Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (“SWIFT”) and their headquarters is located in La Hulpe, Belgium. SWIFT is the registered trademarks of S.W.I.F.T. SCRL with a registered address at Avenue Adèle 1, B-1310 La Hulpe, Belgium.