What is SWIFT Code?

SWIFT codes are a combination of various kinds of letters and are used to identify the branch codes of the banks. These codes are used as Bank Identifier Codes (BIC).

A SWIFT code is used to identify a particular branch of a bank. These codes play an important role in various bank transactions, especially when it comes to international transactions. A SWIFT code may also be used by various banks to transfer other messages.

A SWIFT code may be of eight to eleven digits and has the following components:

  • - The first four characters are used as the bank codes. Only letters can be used.
  • - The next two characters, only letters, are to describe or give the country code.
  • - The next two characters can be a mix of both numbers and letters. These are used for location-based codes.
  • - The last three characters of the code can be digits and letters, and are optional. These last three characters in a SWIFT code are used to give details about the branch code.


A good example of a SWIFT code would be the CommBank’s code- CTBAAU2S

It must be remembered that BICs and SWIFT Codes can be used interchangeably and are one and the same thing. A SWIFT code is usually used during international bank wire transfers. However, these codes may also make you pay a higher rate, depending on the ongoing rates at the time of the transaction. At present, there are more than forty thousand live SWIFT codes.

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You can also read about other Codes

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