What is Bank Identifier Code (BIC) and Why Do You Need One?

Jelle van Schaick
2 mins

  • Knowledge hub

Bank Identifier Codes (BIC) are used to identify banks and their branches globally. A unique BIC consists of 8-11 characters, containing both alpha and numeric characters. It is used for transferring money between banks internationally and domestically; international wire transfers; and for making bank payments in foreign currency. The BIC is the first six characters of a SWIFT address. For example, Bank of America’s Bank Identifier Code (BIC) is BOFAUS3N. 

How to find a bank's BIC Code

If you’re receiving a wire transfer from a bank outside of your country, you need to know the SWIFT BIC code from your bank to make sure your payment will be delivered correctly. It can usually be found on both bank statements and online banking accounts. 

If you're sending money across borders, using an online tool like Bank.Codes’s SWIFT/BIC code validation tool will not only save you time searching for the branch, but will also help to ensure that your payment reaches its recipient. You can also use the tool to validate swift codes for extra security.

Double-check your bank's BIC code with your recipient before you send a payment. An incorrect code could mean that your money won't reach the intended person, or that it will take longer than usual to arrive.

What do BIC/SWIFT codes look like?

There are two alpha-numerical codes that are used in electronic transactions. The first is the "Business Identifier Code" or BIC code, used by banks to identify other banks. The other is the SWIFT code, which is used to identify both banks and non-banks. Together, both BICs and SWIFT codes are used to identify who is sending or receiving money.

The format of BIC and SWIFT codes is always 8-11 characters long and follows this pattern:


* Most banks will have a three-character branch code. However, some banks don’t use the three-character code to identify their branches. Instead, they use eight-character codes. For these banks, the branch code is either replaced by a triple X (i.e. SWEDSESSXXX) or left off entirely.

Going international? Intergiro can help

Expanding internationally? Intergiro is a payment service provider that offers multiple solutions for merchants with international customers. Use our multi-currency wallets, payment acquiring solutions, and make it easy for your company to collect payments in the currency of your customer's choice, and settle in your own!