moneytransfers.com
HomeSwift CodesSWIFT Code vs IFSC Code

SWIFT Code vs IFSC Code

There is a lot of information to get your head around when setting up an online money transfer; whether it’s your first international payment or your 100th, some of the terminology used for overseas remittances can be confusing. In this guide, we will outline exactly what SWIFT and IFSC codes are, their format, when and where they are needed, and how they work.

Money Transfer Comparison
Fill in the form and we’ll find you the best rates.
United Kingdom
GBP
Spain
EUR
£
GBP

You may have been prompted for a SWIFT or IFSC code in the past, depending on the requirements of your overseas transfer, but when is this information needed? We investigate.

What is a SWIFT/IFSC code?

SWIFT code
IFSC code

SWIFT codes are alphanumeric codes used by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication network, when identifying the bank location, country, and branch number of an international transfer.

What is the format of a SWIFT/IFSC code?

SWIFT code
IFSC code

The format of SWIFT codes can range from 8 to 11 alphanumeric characters and they are divided into 4 categories to separate each of the different details they refer to: address, country and branch number of the bank.

An example of a SWIFT Code: AAAABBCCDDD

AAAA: Bank code. These 4 letters usually look like a shortened version of the bank name

BB: Country code. These two letters represent the country the bank is in

CC: Location code. These two characters will indicate where the bank’s head office is located

DDD: Branch code. The last three characters will indicate the specific branch of the bank

How does a SWIFT/IFSC code work?

SWIFT code
IFSC code

The SWIFT network facilitates the sending and receiving of secure messages between banks and financial institutions in order to complete payment instructions. Funds are not physically transported using the SWIFT network, the codes simply convey payment instructions.

If you want to learn more about how SWIFT payments work, read our guide

Who uses SWIFT/IFSC codes?

SWIFT code
IFSC code

The SWIFT network is utilised by over 200 countries around the world, and more than 11,000 financial institutions use SWIFT codes to initiate international payments. These institutions include banks, foreign exchange brokers, clearing houses, depositories, brokering institutes, trading houses and asset management companies.

Where can I find a SWIFT/IFSC code?

SWIFT code
IFSC code

SWIFT codes can be accessed via bank statements, online banking accounts or by contacting the specific bank directly and ask for the SWIFT code.

When will I need a SWIFT/IFSC code?

SWIFT code
IFSC code

SWIFT codes are needed to process international money transfers as they are used to verify the financial institution(s) involved.

Summary

We hope this guide has cleared up any confusion you may have had when dealing with SWIFT or IFSC codes. At MoneyTransfers.com we do our best to impart advice and information so our users have everything they need to make a swift and successful international money transfer. To summarise: SWIFT/BIC codes are required almost any time money is transferred internationally to a bank account; whereas IFSC codes are only needed when sending money from one bank to another in India or sending money from overseas to an account in India.

Are you sending money to India? Check out our guide here

Related Content

April Summers
April Summers
April is a trained journalist and the Content Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. She has 10 years experience writing about a diverse range of subjects, from financial services to arts and entertainment. When she's not writing about global remittances she can be found daydreaming about her next holiday abroad.