What does SWIFT stand for?

SWIFT is an acronym for "Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication". It is a network for sending money electronically, which was founded in 1973.

Where are the headquarters of SWIFT?

SWIFT is headquartered in La Hulpe, Belgium.

What does BIC stand for?

The BIC acronym stands for "Business Identifier Code". The terms "swift code" and "BIC code" are used interchangeably. This code is a string of alphanumeric characters assigned to a particular bank or financial institution.

Why are these codes needed and how are they used?

Historically, banks and financial institutions have been very localized and controlled by tight regulations. The International Organization for Standards (ISO) has defined the SWIFT-BIC under ISO 9362. It has created standards that can be used by all nations.

These codes are used to identify banks for the wire transfer of money between organizations. By identifying a member bank, electronic money can be moved around and recorded accurately and quickly.

What specific financial services does the SWIFT network provide?

With the incredible development of technology, more and more electronic devices are being used every day for buying and selling goods and services. The SWIFT network creates a secure environment for receiving messages about financial transactions. SWIFT transfer messages and payments orders. It does not hold accounts, or clear or settle financial transactions.

Why is SWIFT so important?

SWIFT has created a secure network, software and common template, standards and protocols for financial messages around the globe. It has facilitated global financial transactions. These protocols are continually being updated.

What are the primary financial areas covered?

This network handles securities, derivatives, cash management, and trade services.

What are the communication protocols?

SWIFT has established the InterAct, FileAct, and Browse protocols for storage and forwarding of messages. With the growth of eCommerce, organizations needed a more robust way to handle international financial transactions.

What do the letters and numbers in the BIC mean?

There are two primary formats for the BIC: 8 characters and 11 characters. The first 4 characters are alphabetic, referring to the specific bank or financial institution (i.e. MIDL for HSBC Bank). The next 2 characters are alphabetic and identify the country (i.e. GB for Great Britain). The final 2 characters are numeric representing the location (i.e. 22). Sometimes, 3 more characters are added to identify a specific branch. Thus, this swift code for HSBC Bank would be written as MIDLGB22 or MIDLGB22XXX (for the HEAD OFFICE).

Are only banks a member of SWIFT?

No. Other financial or non-financial institutions can be members of SWIFT also. The BIE stands for Business Entity Identifier and is used for these other organizations.

How many SWIFT codes are there?

There are more than 7,000 active codes with an additional 10,000 codes for manual transactions.

How many nations are represented by SWIFT?

In 2010, more than 200 countries and territories were represented by members in the SWIFT network.

What is the organizational structure for SWIFT?

SWIFT is a cooperative society under Belgian law.

Where are its data centers located?

There are data centers in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States.

Can any nation be a member of SWIFT?

In 2012, the United States and European Union forced SWIFT to disconnect all Iranian banks from its network.

Is SWIFT regulated?

The SWIFT network is regulated under the laws of the European Union.

Can financial transactions be seized by governments on this network?

In February 2012, the Danish newspaper Berlingske reported that the United States seized money from a transaction between Denmark and Germany. A Danish businessman was paying for Cuban cigars bought from Germany which suggests that the United States is also regulating SWIFT.