BIC and SWIFT codes are used on a daily basis to complete transactions in modern business. Whether you are paying a supplier abroad or selling to an overseas customer, the chances are you will need to use a BIC or SWIFT code. If you’re not too certain of what a BIC and SWIFT code is, or what they are used for, we have all the information below.
What are BIC and SWIFT codes?
BIC means ‘Bank Identifier Code’, which is exactly what it does, it identifies a particular bank when you are completing an international payment. By using your BIC, you are ensuring that the fund transfer arrives at the intended bank.
We also hear a lot about SWIFT codes, SWIFT stands for ‘Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication’. This network enables payment processing on a global scale.
BIC vs SWIFT code. Are they the same?
Yes, you can often hear people refer to BIC and SWIFT codes interchangeably.
Different banks and financial institutions may refer to the codes in one way rather than the other. You could hear the codes being called slightly different names too, at times like a SWIFT ID, BIC/SWIFT code or a SWIFT/BIC code but they remain the same in use.
BIC/SWIFT code will always consist of between 8 and 11 digits.
The first 4 characters will be the bank code, this looks similar to an abbreviated version of the banks name.
The 2 characters to follow inform us of the location of the bank, so here in Ireland we see IE.
The next 2 characters advise us of the location of the banks head office.
The final 3 digits inform us of the actual location of the branch.
In Ireland, we can see that a lot of the BIC/SWIFT codes are only 8 characters and that the final 3 are missing. The Final 3 characters are optional from the bank and so would not affect your transaction reaching its destination if they are not included. You may notice that if the last 3 characters are missing, in its place you will find XXX inputted.
Where do I find my BIC/SWIFT code?
Your financial institution or bank can provide you with your BIC or SWIFT code, it is also usually noted on your bank statements and you will have access to the code by logging into your online account.
You can also use a BIC/SWIFT code finder online. This code finder will find the BIC or Swift code that you need to enable you to complete an overseas funds transfer. You can also use the code finder as added security by checking the details you have before you complete the money transfer of payment.
Is there a charge for using my BIC/SWIFT code?
Yes, most financial institutions charge the customer a fee for completing an international fund transfer, some banks are known to charge up to €33 per transfer when using your BIC/SWIFT code. Not only is there a fee attached by many to complete the money transfer but you may also receive a poor foreign exchange rate too.
You may even find hidden extra charges being applied as you may sometimes have 1,2 or even 3 banks assisting with the transfer. Completing international money transfers relies on a number of different banks working together as a network.
The funds are sent from you in your currency and arrive into the recipient account in their currency. From the customer’s point of view, the process is quite simple.
Do I need an IBAN if I have a BIC or SWIFT code already?
Yes, you will need your IBAN, you will use this alongside the BIC/SWIFT code.
As mentioned, the BIC/SWIFT code identifies a particular bank when you are completing an international payment. The IBAN identifies the exact bank account where your money transfer will be paid. IBAN stands for ‘international bank account number’ and is used across Europe for any transfers in or out of accounts.
You will notice that the IBAN is a lot longer than the BIC, the IBAN has 34 characters in total.
Having touched on all you need to know when using a BIC or SWIFT code, how can we here at Lumipay assist you with receiving payments? Lumipay is one of the most secure and reliable payment gateway providers in the market. Offering the most competitive prices guaranteed from banks, on your merchant services, sets Lumipay apart from the competition. Lumipay is suitable for UK and EU online websites or payments over the phone. Whether you are a small, an up and coming business or a large organisation, Lumipay has the knowledge and know-how to look after your payments in the most secure and reliable fashion.