Demystifying Swift Codes: How They Work and Why They Matter

3 min read


In today’s globalized world, seamless international transactions are crucial for businesses and individuals alike. Swift codes play a vital role in facilitating secure and efficient cross-border transfers. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of Swift codes, exploring how they work and why they are essential.

Understanding Swift Codes

What is a Swift Code?
Swift codes are a type of Bank Identification Code (BIC) used to identify financial institutions during an international wire transfer. These 8-11 character-long codes allow banks to determine where the funds are coming from to complete transactions securely.

What does a Swift Code look like?
Each Swift code is composed of a bank’s country code (4 letters representing the country), branch code (3 digits specifying a particular branch), location code (2 characters made up of letters or numbers) and IBAN number (used for domestic transactions).

How does a Swift Code work?
Swift codes serve as the backbone of international banking, enabling secure and efficient cross-border transactions, allowing financial institutions to talk to each other. Swift codes are assigned to each member institution by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). When a bank receives a Swift code, it undergoes a thorough verification process to ensure accuracy and compliance.

Financial institutions use Swift codes to exchange financial messages securely and efficiently.
These messages contain essential information, such as sender and recipient details, transaction amount, and purpose, ensuring the transfer is correctly routed and completed.

How to find a Swift Code

If the required Swift code is not readily available, check out all the different ways to find a SWIFT code for your international payment purposes. Contacting the recipient bank directly is a reliable option. The bank’s customer service or support team can provide the necessary information to facilitate the transaction. Various online resources, such as official banking websites or specialized directories, provide access to Swift code databases as well.

Why are Swift Codes important?

By including a Swift code, senders ensure that funds reach the intended recipient’s bank promptly and accurately. The code specifies the precise institution and branch, minimizing the risk of misrouting or delays.

The Swift code for each bank is unique, so it’s important that you get the right one. When the wrong Swift code is provided, the funds may be misdirected to the incorrect bank or account. Check out these common mistakes to avoid when using SWIFT codes to minimize the risk of a misdirected transfer, delays and disruptions.

How to send international money transfers without a Swift Code

With Veem, you can choose to send international payments with or without Swift codes. Designed with security and privacy in mind, Veem allows businesses from around the world to send funds safely and securely to over 100 countries with as little as an email address. Check out how Veem works to learn more about simplifying your payment processes.


Swift codes serve as the backbone of international banking, enabling secure and efficient cross-border transactions. Their unique identification system ensures accurate routing, compliance with regulations, and enhanced security. To minimize delays to your payment process, it is critical to provide the correct Swift code. Or you can use Veem to send international payments with as little as an email address. Sign up today!



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