What is a Bank Swift Code ?

Swift code ( also known as ISO 9362, BIC code or Swift number) is a unique identification code for financial institutions, approved by International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
It is used for money transfer and exchange of messages between banks and financial institutions. BIC code is very helpful in knowing the exact bank location and thereby provide hassle free information to bank’s customer.
A swift code for main bank branch is of 8 characters and three more characters are added for a particular branch.

  • First 4 letters imply Institution Code or bank code
  • Next 2 letters imply ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code
  • Next 2 letters or digits imply location code
  • Last 3 letters or digits imply branch code


Swift code structure illustration :

CHASUS33DEV is a swift code of  JPMorgan  Chase Bank. We break this code into four parts in which 33 is location code for New York and  DEV  stand for  TSU Branch of Chase Bank in New York.

   Bank Code
 Country Code
 Location Code
Branch Code
   CHAS    US      33   DEV



  1. Don’t use a swift code for wire transfer If it’s 8th character  is 1, it denotes that the given code is a passive participant in the swift network.
  2. In case an eight digit BIC code is given always add ‘XXX ‘ as last three digit to make the code a eleven digit swift number. this has to be done because an eight digit swift number is not accepted while making a wire transfer.