What is SWIFT

SWIFT, or SWIFT code, is a code used to identify a bank. It works similar to an address. You need a SWIFT code when making a payment to a foreign country.

SWIFT stands for Society of Worldwide Interbanking Financial Telecommunications. Another term is BIC code, which stands for Bank Identifier Code. It is a code for bank identification.

How to use the SWIFT code

You need the SWIFT code when transferring or receiving money internationally. If you are sending money, you need to contact your customer or their bank to get the code. If you are receiving payment for something you have sold, you need to get the SWIFT code from your bank and provide it to the person who will be paying you.

You can also search for the specific SWIFT code on swift.com.

Different online banks may have slightly different solutions for international payments, but in general, you enter information about the international payment to ensure you select the correct bank and account. The SWIFT code is one of the things you need to add.

How the code is structured

The SWIFT code is composed of either eight or eleven letters and numbers, where the first six are always letters. This is what the characters mean:

  • The first four letters are unique to the bank
  • The next two indicate the country the bank belongs to (for example, NO for Norway)
  • The two characters after that indicate the geographical location of the bank (can be letters or numbers)
  • The last three characters are optional and represent the branch code or office code (can be letters and/or numbers)

The difference between SWIFT and IBAN

While SWIFT identifies the entire bank, IBAN (International Bank Account Number) is the international standard for bank account numbers. You also need IBAN when transferring money across borders.

Your bank can help you find the IBAN number you need.