Find your SWIFT/BIC code

Here’s how to find it and how to save on transaction costs. HINT: Don’t use your bank.


What is a SWIFT code anyway?

The SWIFT code is a format of your BIC (Bank Identification Code), and the two terms are used interchangeably. SWIFTs or BICs are unique identification codes for the particular bank or branch that holds your account. The SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) system allows banks and financial institutions to send and receive secure messages regarding payment instructions. These 8-11 digit codes are often used for international foreign exchange transactions. 

What you need to know

SWIFT has changed very little since it was introduce in the 1970s. Unfortunately, this means SWIFT is now one the slowest and most expensive ways to make a payment. As technology and payments systems have progressed, newer processing networks like BSB in Australia, ABA in the U.S.A., and SEPA in Europe have emerged. These newer systems use improved technology to make payment instructions many times faster than SWIFT at a fraction of the price.

If your bank is asking you for a SWIFT code, you should know that banks often charge as much as 5% to complete a foreign exchange transaction. At OFX, our transfer costs are up to 90% less, which could potentially save you thousands depending on the size of your transfer. Our friendly customer service agents are on-hand 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about our service or SWIFT.  

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SWIFT, swifter, swiftest

Established in 1973, SWIFT was the only way banks could communicate with each other securely, and it became popular due to its heightened security. These days, SWIFT normally takes between 2-3 business days to complete an overseas transfer and costs around $4 per delivery.

At OFX, we use our network of 115 global bank accounts to tap into the power of local payment processing networks. We call it Global By Local (GBL). Our GBL network typically takes 24 business hours and costs under $1. That’s part of why our rates are so competitive and why our transfers often arrive faster.

Better yet, when you send money with us, most of the time you won’t need to ask the recipient to search high and low for a SWIFT or IBAN. You just request their regular account details and our local bank account in the destination country will do the rest. 

And the IBAN?

Many banks, especially European banks, also use IBANs (International Bank Account Numbers). These are also unique codes that identify a given bank account and provide a standardized way of recognizing and locating bank accounts throughout the world. Started in Europe during the 1990s, this method of bank account identification for international transfers has been adopted by more than 60 countries worldwide

Still not sure?

There’s no doubt that international banking can be tricky, confusing and sometimes, time consuming. When you register with OFX, we’ll try to make the initial sign-up as painless as possible, and you’ll get the peace of mind of knowing that every transfer you make from here on out will be at our great low rates—no matter which currency you choose or when. Learn more about how you can benefit from our services.

Ready to OFX it? Start your transfer now