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What is a BIC Number?

What is a BIC number and why do I need it? Is a BIC the same as a SWIFT? What is a BIC, what does it look like, and where do I find it?

In this blog post, we answer all of your questions about BIC.

BIC Number Meaning

In banking terminology, “BIC” doesn’t refer to the disposable razor in your bathroom or the cheap ball-point pen in your stationery cupboard. Instead, it stands for Bank Identifier Code. Your BIC is an 8-11 character code that will identify a specific bank for an international transaction.

SWIFT vs BIC: Are they the same thing?

Yes, SWIFT and BIC are the same thing. As with lots of similar banking terminology, this can be confusing. But a BIC can also be referred to as a SWIFT code. Companies tend to use the term SWIFT when talking about international transfers, whereas Bank Identifier Code (BIC) is often used more in personal banking – but they are responsible for exactly the same process, and they do the same job.

👉 Read next: SWIFT & SEPA: How international money transfers actually work

Why do I need a BIC?

You’ll mainly need a BIC (or SWIFT) to make an international transaction. And if you want to receive money from somebody overseas, they may ask for your BIC along with your IBAN, account number, and sort code. If you’re working with businesses abroad, you should include your BIC on your invoices.

When completing a telegraphic transfer, this will give the individual bank the correct details needed to get money from a bank in one country to the recipient bank in the other. So, you’re likely to be asked for your BIC or SWIFT code by an international payer when they need to send you money.

You can think of BIC or SWIFT numbers essentially acting as identifiers for individual banks. Each bank will have a SWIFT/BIC – and this is one way of making sure the money arrives in the right place.

Where is my BIC Number?

Now you know what a BIC is, you may need to know how to find it. The easiest place to find your BIC is in the account details (or similarly-named section) on your online banking profile.

If you still can’t find the BIC or SWIFT code online, contact your bank directly and get the information straight from the horse’s mouth. This will save you trawling through lots of webpages, and it makes sure that you’re not getting the wrong information from a third-party website.

You may also find your BIC or SWIFT code on physical bank statements. Usually, BICs are in the top right hand corner of the document, but this might differ depending on your bank.

What does My BIC/SWIFT code look like?

Your BIC/SWIFT will look a little like this example: BANKINFO101

  1. The first four digits refer to the specific bank’s code, and are letters only
  2. The next two digits refer to the country’s code, and are letters only
  3. The next two digits refer to the bank’s specific location, and can be a combination of letters and numbers
  4. The final three digits refer to the branch’s code, and can be a combination of letters and numbers (note: not all BICs include branch information.)

Summary

BIC stands for Bank Identifier Code, and it does what it says on the tin.

Remember: BIC and SWIFT codes are the same thing – it’s just different terminology. Both are used to identify specific banks in the international environment.

Hopefully we’ve answered your questions about BIC. If you’d like to learn more about similar topics, check out the links below: