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What Is a Swift Code
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What Is a SWIFT Code and Why It Is Important

Bank SWIFT codes are comparable to home postal codes - if they are missing or specified inaccurately, the execution of the payment may take longer or problems may occur in the process. Therefore, unless the bank requests otherwise, the SWIFT code should always be provided.

Nowadays, payments "disappear" very rarely, and even if the code is incorrect; your money will be returned after a while.

Electronic payments are becoming more and more popular every day, and with it, the number of available methods. Now, besides traditional banks, you can send money via various digital banks, electronic wallets, and money transfer services.

However, one thing does not change: when transferring money electronically to another wallet, account or institution, several identification numbers are required. One of them is the account to which we want to transfer money. Besides that, international payments also require the SWIFT code of the payment institution. But what is a SWIFT code and why pay attention to it?

What Is a SWIFT Code?

The SWIFT code of a payment institution (in the case of banks it may also be called the BIC code) is the identification code of a payment institution, consisting of 8 or 11 symbols, which indicates the payment institution to which the transfer is to be made. You could look at this number as a postal code. If your IBAN is your home address, the SWIFT number is your postal code.

As this identification number is unique and included in the international system, nowadays only two things are required to make an international transfer: the transfer account number (to identify the payee) and the SWIFT or BIC code already mentioned.

In addition, modern banks that have thought about the convenience of their customers may not even require a SWIFT or BIC code, but only the already mentioned IBAN number. This is because their systems are linked to different databases, through which they automatically find out the SWIFT or BIC code of the recipient. However, this should not be relied upon, as other banks still require them to be listed.

In fact, in addition to the SWIFT and BIC codes, there are different identification designations (eg BIK, SORT, ABA, Fedwire, MFO, CNAPS, IFSC, etc.). However, these numbers are not linked in one international standard, so they usually go in the "additional information" box.

Why Pay Attention to SWIFT Codes

We have already mentioned that SWIFT codes are just like postal codes. When you send a letter and you enter the wrong zip code, your envelope may be delayed or even lost. The same is true for bank SWIFT codes. If the payment institution requests it but it is incorrect, the payment may be difficult to execute.

Domestic payments require nothing more than a payment account, as the system automatically checks that the account you entered is accurate. In contrast, in cross-border payments (especially outside the European Economic Area), the system cannot automatically check all details and they are often executed manually or at least partially manually. And if any payment details are inaccurate, there will be a problem with the payment execution process.

What Do the SWIFT Codes of the Most Popular Payment Institutions in Europe Look Like?

In order to clearly show the SWIFT codes of the most popular payment institutions in Europe, we have summarized them in one table. It should be noted that when a bank or payment institution re-branding, the SWIFT code issued to it remains the same as its previously issued IBAN account numbers.

Payment institutionSWIFT/BIC code
SwedbankHABALV22
RevolutREVOLT21
PaypalPPALUS66
Lloyds Bank PLC, LondonLOYDGB22
Intensa Sanpaolo SPA, VeneziaBCITITMM008
Deutsche Bank, HamburgDEUTDEDBHAM
Societe Generale, ParisSOGEFRPPAAA
Barclays Bank PLC, LondonBARCGB22
Banco Santander S.A., Madrid BSCHESMM

How to Find the Required SWIFT Code?

Payment institutions usually indicate their SWIFT code on their websites. This code is also usually found on payment account statements (especially if the account is with a bank). However, if you want to send money but do not know the SWIFT code of the payee's payment institution (you can also search for it here and here), ask the payee himself. Be careful here, because as already mentioned - entering the wrong code can delay the payment.

Conclusion

Although the number of electronic payment institutions, as well as the number of electronic payments themselves, is growing, technologies are evolving and payments are less and less "lost" or returned. For example, Swedbank (Sweden) no longer requires a SWIFT code if the payment is made within the European Economic Area. However, Swedbank is only one good example in this case, as each payment institution is different.

The fact that payment institutions are not the same is also confirmed by the services and costs they offer: for example, Swedbank still charges a fee for each payment outside its internal network (even when sending money to another local payment institution).

If such payments are made on a regular basis, it would certainly be advisable to consider opening a bank account with a non-collecting institution for each transfer (this is not the case, for example, Revolut).

Also, for other services, such as payment cards, it would always be advisable to look at the various offers, as payment institutions often take into account the fact that people are not very mobile in payment matters and most often accept relatively high commission rates or interest rates.

To find the most suitable banks, we always recommend comparing all services on our digital bank comparison page. It’s free and it only takes a couple of minutes.

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