What is SWIFT Code?

SWIFT code is a standard format of Bank Identifier Codes (BIC) and serves as a unique identifier for a bank or financial institution.

These codes are used when transferring money between banks, particularly for international wire transfers. On top of that, the code is used to transmit messages between financial institutions and banks.

The SWIFT code can be either 8 or 11 characters long and 8 digits code refers to the primary office. The format of SWIFT Code is as follows;


  • The first 4 characters ("AAAA") specify the bank. Only letters are allowed.
  • The next 2 characters ("BB") specify the country. It use the format of ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code.
  • The next 2 characters ("CC") specify the location. Letters and digits are allowed. Passive participant will have "1" in the second character
  • The last 3 characters ("DDD") specify the branch. This is an optional. A 'XXX' refer to primary office. Letters and digits are allowed.

SWIFT Codes are divided into 2 categories namely Live & Passive Codes. The Live Codes are for institutions who are actively connected to the SWIFT network. On the other hand, Passive Codes are used for manual transactions. Currently, there are over 7,500 live codes & over 10,000 passive codes.

The registrations and management of SWIFT Codes are the responsibility Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (“SWIFT”). SWIFT 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 Codes for World's Largest Economies by World Bank