What is a Bank SWIFT Code?


SWIFT Code is a standard format of Bank Identifier Codes (BIC) and it is unique identification code for a particular bank. These codes are used when transferring money between banks, particularly for international wire transfers. Banks also used the codes for exchanging other messages between them.

These codes are known as SWIFT codes due to the organization that first introduced them (SWIFT – Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). The Swift code consists of 8 or 11 characters. When 8-digits code is given, it refers to the primary office. The code is formatted as below:


  • First 4 characters – bank code (only letters)
  • Next 2 characters – ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code (only letters)
  • Next 2 characters – location code (letters and digits) (passive participant will have “1” in the second character)
  • Last 3 characters – branch code, optional (‘XXX’ for primary office) (letters and digits)

For example, the 8-digit Maybank SWIFT code in Malaysia is MBBEMYKL, while the 11-digit Maybank Johor Bahru branch SWIFT code in Malaysia is MBBEMYKLJOB.

The registrations of Swift Codes are handled by Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (“SWIFT”) and their headquarters is located in La Hulpe, Belgium. SWIFT is the registered trademarks of S.W.I.F.T. SCRL with a registered address at Avenue Adèle 1, B-1310 La Hulpe, Belgium.

Swift Code, BIC Code, ISO 9362

Swift Code or BIC code is part of ISO 9362 standards. It is a standard format of Business Identifier Codes (“BIC”). BIC sometimes also refers to “Bank Identifier Code”.

Swift Code or BIC Code is a unique code to identify financial and non-financial institutions. These codes are mostly used when transferring money between banks, especially for international wire transfers or telegraphic transfer (“TT”). The codes are also used in exchanging messages between banks.

For individual users, SWIFT Code normally used to transmit money across the international border.

International Bank Account Number (IBAN)

A certain part of the world, especially in Europe, Middle East & Caribbean countries adopted to use International Bank Account Number (IBAN) for international fund transfer. Remember to use IBAN if you are doing fund transfer to these countries.

IBAN format is very long, and it can be up to 34 characters. In order to avoid a mistake, it is wise to validate IBAN number prior making international fund transfer.

It is possible to calculate IBAN from an existing bank account number by using online IBAN Calculator. The required pieces of information are depending on the specific countries, but normally, account number, bank code and branch codes are needed.

Domestic Bank Codes

Some countries also implement domestic bank code or clearing system to transfer money within their own border. Examples are, Routing Number in United States (“USA”), Routing Number or Transit Number in Canada, Sort Codes in United Kingdom (“UK”), National Sort Codes (NSC) in Ireland, Bankleitzahl (“BLZ Codes”) in Germany, Bankenclearing-Nummer (“BC“) & SIX Interbank Clearing Codes (“SIC”) in Switzerland, Code Banque & Code Guichet In France, Codice ABI (“ABI“) & Codice di Avviamento Bancario (“CAB Code“) in Italy, Bank State Branch (BSB number) in Australia, Bank State Branch (BSB number) in New Zealand and Indian Financial System Code (“IFSC Code“) in India.

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