IBAN, SWIFT, BIC for international payments

Let’s understand what IBAN, SWIFT and BIC are:

  1. IBAN (International Bank Account Number) is an international bank account number. It is a unique identification number of 34 characters and is used in international settlements. The IBAN number contains all the information needed to transfer funds: account number, bank name, bank branch and country code.
  2. BIC (Business Identifier Codes) is a bank identification code. BIC is a unique bank code that consists of 8 or 11 characters and is also used in settlements. Each bank has its own identifier. BIC is also called a SWIFT address or SWIFT code.
  3. SWIFT (Stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is a community of global interbank financial telecommunications. This organization was founded in Brussels in 1973, in order to establish some standards and common processes for financial transactions. SWIFT provides a secure network that allows various financial institutions in 212 different countries to exchange transaction information.

Where to get the payment details?

The correct account number in IBAN format can only be provided by the bank serving your account. BIC / SWIFT can also be obtained at the bank, or use one of the directories on the Internet.

What are they needed for?

These codes are necessary for conducting international money transfers and for sending messages between banks. In order for payments to be sent to the correct account are needed identifiers that meet international standards. They allow you to make international transfers faster. And the IBAN account structure, for example, is structured in such a way as to minimize errors.

Use in international practice

Initially, IBAN was intended for settlements in the European Union. The EU pays special attention to the standardization of settlement operations, and therefore, when conducting transactions within the EU, IBAN and BIC / SWIFT numbers must be indicated in the payment documents. This requirement applies to all payments and applies to individuals and legal entities. That is, when transferring between banks, it is necessary to indicate IBAN and BIC (SWIFT). And an account number in IBAN format is sufficient for individuals.

EU banks have the right not to accept payments in which the account number does not comply with IBAN standards. Banks have the right to charge a fee for returning payments. Therefore, companies most often indicate details in the international format on letterhead, contracts and other documents. Banks in the United States and New Zealand, in turn, use SWIFT codes, but do not use IBAN numbers. The United Kingdom also uses both codes, with the first four characters of the BIC code being part of IBAN. Today, more than 70 countries use IBAN.

Setting standards in the field of banking financial operations has become an effective solution for ensuring universal, safe, fast and convenient transfers of funds from one country to another. If you have an IBAN, the system will easily identify you, which will make the transfer faster and reduce operational risks. If your bank is associated with SWIFT, then you can not worry about the safety of transfers.