The term « SWIFT code » is borrowed in the name of a bank association named SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication).
This association has set up common identification rules to facilitate international transfers between or within countries.
The SWIFT association manages the BIC codes records. The BIC code is often assimilated to the SWIFT code and vice versa. You can always find your BIC (or SWIFT code) on your RIB Information under differents formulations. For example, for Crédit Agricole and Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP), with two differents formulations :
In France, most generally in Europe, the BIC code is rarely used for transfers. It is the IBAN identifier that is used and this has been reinforced by the introduction of SEPA standards, which has now the IBAN become mandatory.
The BIC code contains either 8 characters (Bank Code, Country Code, Location Code) or 11 characters (with Branch Code) :
When the code contains only 8 characters, it is the bank’s national central office.
BIC Code’s structure
|X : Letters – Y : Numbers or letters|
Note the particular case of the 12-digit BIC codes, to identify endpoints in its network. These 12-character BIC codes are derived from the 11-character BIC of a financial institution, adding 1 character between the location code and the branch code, which designates the logical terminal (or local destination).
The address of the SWIFT association’s website, in charge of BIC codes, here: Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. In our site, we will reference all BIC codes, french and world-wide.