BIC (Business Identifier Code)
An international standard for routing business transactions and identifying business parties
BIC is the International ISO standard ISO 9362:2014. This standard specifies the elements and structure of a universal identifier code, the business identifier code (BIC), for financial and non-financial institutions, for which such an international identifier is required to facilitate automated processing of information for financial services.
Overview and structure
The BIC is used for addressing messages, routing business transactions and identifying business parties.
SWIFT in its role of ISO registration authority issues BICs to financial and non-financial institutions. The BIC is used in financial transactions, client and counterparty databases, compliance documents and many others.
The ISO 9362:2014 standard is available from ISO.
The BIC is an 8 character code, defined as ‘business party identifier’, consisting of the business party prefix (4 alphanumeric), the country code as defined in ISO 3166-1 (2 alphabetic), and the business party suffix (2 alphanumeric).
The branch identifier is a 3 character optional element that can supplement the 8 character BIC, used to identify specific locations, departments, services or units of the same business party.
The ISO 9362 BIC standard has been revised in 2014. During a transition period starting in January 2015 and ending in November 2018, the existing conventions will continue to be respected. This allows users of the BIC to investigate potential impact and opportunities as well as to take the appropriate measures to update the back-office systems where applicable and at their own pace during this period.
Implementation will be completed at the end of the transition period in November 2018. This information paper provides information to allow users to carefully plan and budget for systems or process changes, if any, to be prepared on time.
BIC Registration processes
The BIC Registration processes document provides an overview of the procedure for the registration, publication and maintenance of BICs issued in accordance with ISO 9362.
It describes the core roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders intervening in the registration, publication and maintenance of BIC.
BIC Policy and Data record
The BIC Policy document provides specific guidelines for the use of BICs by SWIFT users, in particular as identifiers and addresses within the SWIFT messaging services.
The BIC data record describes the reference data attributes attached to each BIC.
- The full legal name
- The registered address
- The status: financial institution or non-financial institution
- The date of publication of the record
- The date of last update of the record
- The date of expiry of the record (when applicable)
- An indication if the record is self-maintained
The BIC applicant is responsible for the accuracy and the completeness of the data submitted for the registration of a new BIC. Existing BIC owners are responsible for the correctness of the information attached to their BICs. To maintain the highest quality BIC data records, BIC owners must at least once per year confirm the accuracy of the data attached to their BICs or inform SWIFT of any changes.