SWIFT codes and BIC Codes

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 :

  • BIC Code (Bank Identification Code) –SWIFT Code: AGRIFRPP847
  • BIC : BNPAFRPPTAS

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.

SWIFT Code et BIC Code (Bank Identification Code)

The BIC code contains either 8 characters (Bank Code, Country Code, Location Code) or 11 characters (with Branch Code) :


  • Bank Code : 4 characters defining the bank in a unique way,
  • Country Code : 2 characters constituting the ISO country code (ISO 3166),
  • Location Code : 2-digit location code (alphabetical or numerical) to distinguish banks in the same country,
  • Branch Code : 3 optional characters defining the branch of the bank (‘ XXX’ for the head office,’ NAN’ for a branch in Nantes, etc…).

When the code contains only 8 characters, it is the bank’s national central office.

BIC Code’s structure

Bank code

Country Code

Location Code

Branch Code

XXXX

XX

YY

YYY

X : Letters – Y : Numbers or letters

BIC Codes (Bank Identification Code)’s samples :

  • BIC CODE de la BANQUE POPULAIRE VAL DE FRANCE : CCBPFRPPVER
  • BIC CODE BOURSORAMA (Siège) : BOUS FRPP XXX
  • BIC CODE – SOCIETE GENERALE (Headquarters) : SOGEFRPP
  • BIC Credit Agricole Ille et Vilaine (35) department : AGRIFRPP836
  • CREDIT LYONNAIS (Headquarters) : CRLYFRPP

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.

All SWIFT and BIC codes by continent :

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