SWIFT codes, also known as Bank Identifier Codes, or BICs, can be looked up on websites such as Swift.com, Iban.com,and Xe.com, or in directories maintained for each country that uses them. They uniquely identify banks and facilitate electronic communications and transactions between them.
A SWIFT Code is a standard format of BIC, and it is a unique identification code for a particular bank. Banks use these codes for transferring money between banks, particularly for international wire-transfers and other cross-border transactions. Banks also use the codes for exchanging messages between each other.
A SWIFT code consists of eight or 11 characters. An eight-digit code refers to the bank's main office. The first four characters indicate the bank code and are only letters. The next two characters are the ISO-country code, also letters. The next two characters are the location code and may be a letter and a number. If is a 1, the bank only maintains a passive presence. The last three characters are the branch code which is XXX for the main office.
The IBAN and BIC are the only customer account identifier and bank routing designation accepted by banks in the EU/EEA area for all intra-EU/EEA cross-border credit transfers to the Single Euro Payments Area, or SEPA. All businesses and individuals making or receiving cross-border payments in Europe are required to use their IBAN and BIC.