What are BIC and SWIFT codes?

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Let’s save you some time right off the bat by telling you that BIC and SWIFT codes are different names for the same thing. If you want to send money internationally, a BIC/SWIFT code is required to get your money to the right place. This quick read will give you the details you need to use and locate a BIC/SWIFT code, correctly.

What does BIC stand for?

BIC stands for Bank Identifier Code. It is represented by 8-11 characters that identify a specific bank in an international transaction.

What does a SWIFT/BIC code look like?

Demonstrated here, we used different colours to define the combination of letters:SWIFT-BIC code

Where do you find a SWIFT/BIC code?

Don’t look far. To send an international transfer, the right SWIFT/BIC code can be found online, or with assistance from your local bank.

How and when do you use a SWIFT/BIC?

When sending money globally, a SWIFT/BIC code must be used in order to identify where the money is being sent. A zip/postal code to a house is what a SWIFT/BIC code is to a bank. If this international postal code is incorrect or missing, your money may get lost or bounce right back to where it started.  Much like a postcard would without the correct address.

Having the accurate code means sending money across international lines goes off without a hitch. In the effort of not wasting your time or making avoidable mistakes, we recommend confirming your recipients’ SWIFT/BIC code with them, even if you’ve found it from a trustworthy source online.  This will ensure your money transfer goes to the correct account without any delays.

Caution! Exchange rates vary.

International money movement means your currency will likely need to be converted from your own to your recipients. Banks benefit financially by marking up their exchange rate by an average of 4-6% above the mid-market rate that you see on Google. This adds to their profits and your losses when transferring money.

You may be tempted to accept this higher rate out of convenience.  After all, they are your bank and you might not want the hassle of looking for another way.  We have a solution. You can avoid this hidden fee before it gets expensive by using an online currency converter to compare rates and get the best deal.

We hope this article added to your toolbox in banking worldwide so you can get the most out of your money.