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What is a BIC code?

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.

There are two types: Connected BICs with access to the SWIFT network and non-connected BICs with no access and used for reference purposes only.

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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, but not all BICs are connected to the SWIFT network used by banks and other institutions for financial messaging. Non-connected BICs, by definition, have no rights or authorisation to connect and exchange messages over the SWIFT network.

 

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.

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.

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BIC Registration Procedures

BIC validation FAQ

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BIC validation FAQ

BIC validation User Guide

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BIC validation User Guide

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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.

You can register branch codes for SWIFT BICs and for non-connected BICs.

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