SWIFT code- Business Identifier code(BIC) for International Banks

By | August 1, 2017

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication code(SWIFT code) is a standard format of Business Identifier Codes approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It is also known as ISO 9362, SWIFT-BIC, BIC code, SWIFT ID or SWIFT code).

Both financial and non-financial institutions have SWIFT code to International operations. But for a non-financial institution it also called as Business Entity Identifier or BEI.

SWIFT code is very important for International wide transfers and also information exchange between banks. Each Bank branch has unique SWIFT code. Generally customers think that BIC code is different from SWIFT code, but that’s just a myth. SWIFT code is same as BIC code.

Pattern of SWIFT code or BIC code:

Standard pattern of this code consists of either 8 or 11 characters. When you get only 8 digits code, take for granted that it is BIC code of primary office or head branch.

  • First 4 characters – These characters represents bank code, similar to IFSC code. One can use only letters.
  • Next 2 characters – These characters represents Bank’s country code, which is also only letters.
  • Next 2 characters – This will tell you about location of the bank branch. It consists of either letters or digits or both. But passive participant will have ‘1’ in the second character.
  • Last 3 characters – These 3 characters represents Bank branch code, which can be either letter or digits or both. But for primary office these characters are optional. It may have ‘XXX’ for primary office.

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As I mentioned earlier that this code is used mostly for International transactions and information exchange between banks.

SWIFT is yet to start operations in India for domestic transactions, as we are using IFSC code mostly for operations. As such, BIC is not being used presently for routing of transactions domestically.

Example 1:

Here I am giving BIC code of SBI bank T.T. Nagar Branch, Bhopal code. In this first 4 letter SBIN represents SBI bank code. Next 2 letters IN represents the country, in this case it is India. And next two character here BB represents branch location code, as per the pattern.

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But SBI uses BB common for all it’s banks branches upto 999, so it is common for SBI branches, As there are only 1000 SBI branches currently have BIC code. Last 3 characters 690 represents the SBI bank branch code.


Example 2:

Here I am giving BIC code of Khairatabad Bank of Baroda branch, Hyderabad, Telangana. You can observe that the code pattern I gave for SBI branch differs with Bank of Baroda code. For SBI last 3 characters are numbers, but for Bank of Baroda they are letters.

  • BARB – It is Bank of Baroda bank Code.
  • IN – Country code for India.
  • BB – Branch location code.
  • KTB – Branch code representing KhairaTaBad.



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