What is the IFSC code for?

SWIFT code

Money circulates and bills need to be paid and accordingly, if not paid in cash, transferred to accounts. These transfers can be made directly in a bank or made online.

If you want to arrange a transfer within your own country, this is quite easy to do. All you need is the recipient, the account number and the bank code, from which the recipient bank is derived.


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Transfers to another country require further special features. In addition to the IBAN, a so-called SWIFT code is required as an international account number, because you have to use it for all international transfers.

What does SWIFT mean and how is the SWIFT code structured?

SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. In principle, the name already says what this designation is about. This association of financial institutions, which is behind the term, was founded in 1973. Its task is to enable its member banks to exchange messages by means of a functioning telecommunications network, also known as a SWIFT network. SWIFT is based in Belgium, in La Hulpe.

SWIFT handles all financial transactions for more than 8,000 financial institutions in over 200 countries. It has been calculated that the SWIFT code is used at least 12 million times every day of the year.

The SWIFT code is also called SWIFT-BIC. This means Bank Identifier Code (BIC). The bank to which the transfer is to be made is identified using this sequence of digits. SWIFT address is the correct term used for this in payment transactions.

This code is the same all over the world and can also be used worldwide to identify a specific credit institution. All international foreign exchange transactions, transfers, international account statements and advices for letters of credit are made possible with the help of this code.

The SWIFT code consists of eight or eleven alphanumeric characters and is broken down as follows:

  • 4-digit bank code
  • 2-digit country code
  • 2-digit coding of the location
  • 3-digit identification of the branch


In this way, every credit institution in the world can be easily identified.

This SWIFT code is extremely helpful and effective for international payment transactions in order to save time and complications, which is why it has to be indicated on every paper transfer form since 2008 in the course of the implementation of the Single European Payment Area (SEPA).

The SWIFT code should not be confused with the IBAN, the International Bank Account Number, which is responsible for standardizing bank account numbers internationally. The structure of bank and account data is made clearer.

There are also some country-specific features that can be recognized using the SWIFT code. As an example, the US-American identifiers can be mentioned here, in which the penultimate digit of the location code indicates the time zone of the bank in question. For example, the 3 stands for the east coast and the 6 for the west coast.

In summary, the SWIFT code can be described as an international bank code that is responsible for identifying the recipient bank abroad.

In the standardized forms for the new SEPA transfers that have been in effect since 2008, the Bank Identifier Code (BIC) issued by SWIFT must be specified. Details on this BIC can be found on the following page:

BIC - Bank Identifier Code >>>

When searching for the bank identifier code for your house bank, our tool for searching for BICs will help you:

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