SWIFT or BIC code

The SWIFT code (of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications), also known as BIC (bank identifier code), is a unique code used to identify each of the credit institutions that exist in the world.

This code provides information about a specific bank and the region in which the account is located. It is a very valuable tool to verify any payment you want to send or receive.

It is mainly used in international transactions. For example, if a person wants to make an international transfer, their bank will request the SWIFT or BIC code of the financial entity to which the transfer will be directed. The objective is to know to which entity and region the account to which the money is sent belongs.

SWIFT is the company for International Interbank Financial Communications and brings together the majority of world banks. It is a cooperative group, founded in Brussels in 1973, that helped establish a common language for financial transactions, a shared data processing system and a global telecommunications network. The fundamental operating procedures and the rules for defining responsibilities were established in 1975. Thus, the first SWIFT message could be sent in 1977.

What type of change can banks apply to me?

If you need to send money abroad, consider using Transferwise . Traditional banks and services often hide additional expenses by increasing the exchange rate that they apply to you. Transferwise always converts your money using the average exchange rate of the market, becoming up to 8 times cheaper than banks.

SWIFT or BIC code structure

The SWIFT or BIC code consists of 8 or 11 alphanumeric characters with the following meaning:

  • Four first characters:They are the code of the credit institution: They identify the financial institution worldwide.
  • Two following characters:Identify the country or geographic territory where the headquarters of the credit institution is located.
  • The following two characters:They refer to the locality. That is, the identifying characters of the region or city where the headquarters of the credit institution is located  .
  • The last three characters:They are not always necessary. They serve to identify a specific office or department of the financial institution. They only appear if the office is not the main one of the city.

Most famous SWIFT or BIC codes in Spain

And how can we know which is the BIC code of the credit institution in which we have our account? Just look at the website of our bank. In Economipedia we make a small list with the BIC codes of the following banks:

Bank SWIFT or BIC code
Santander Bank BSCHESMM


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