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.