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Swift Code vs. IBAN Code: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
SWIFT code is a unique identification code for a specific bank, used for international wire transfers, while IBAN is an international standard for identifying individual bank accounts across national borders.
Swift Code vs. IBAN Code

Key Differences

The SWIFT code is used to identify banks and financial institutions globally for international wire transfers and messages. The IBAN code, on the other hand, is designed to identify individual bank accounts for international transactions, ensuring accurate and efficient cross-border payments.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 10, 2023
A SWIFT code is an 8 to 11-character code that contains a bank code, country code, location code, and optional branch code. An IBAN code, however, varies in length (up to 34 characters) and includes a country code, two check digits, and a long and detailed bank account number.
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Dec 10, 2023
SWIFT codes are used worldwide by banks to securely send and receive information and funds. IBAN codes are primarily used in Europe and certain other countries but are not universal, with notable non-participating countries like the United States.
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The SWIFT code plays a crucial role in identifying the specific bank in an international transaction, ensuring the money is sent to the right institution. The IBAN, however, directly points to an individual account within a bank, preventing errors in fund transfers.
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SWIFT codes are governed by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which provides a network for financial institutions to exchange information. IBAN codes are regulated by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which standardizes the structure for global use.
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Comparison Chart

Full Form

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication Code
International Bank Account Number
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Primary Function

Identifies banks for international transactions
Identifies individual bank accounts for international payments
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Length and Composition

8-11 characters, including bank and country codes
Up to 34 characters, including country code and detailed account number
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Dec 10, 2023

Global Usage

Used worldwide
Mainly used in Europe and other participating countries
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Role in Financial Transactions

Essential for bank identification in wire transfers
Crucial for accurate account targeting in cross-border payments
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Swift Code and IBAN Code Definitions

Swift Code

SWIFT Code is a standard format of Bank Identifier Code used globally.
The SWIFT code for our bank is ABCDUS33XXX.
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Dec 04, 2023

IBAN Code

IBAN Code is an international standard for identifying bank accounts.
My IBAN code is GB29NWBK60161331926819.
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Swift Code

SWIFT Code facilitates cross-border banking transactions.
Ensure the SWIFT code is correct to avoid transfer delays.
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Dec 04, 2023

IBAN Code

IBAN Code is key to processing international payments smoothly.
The rent payment requires the landlord’s IBAN code.
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Swift Code

SWIFT Code is a unique code assigned to each bank for secure messaging.
For international wire, use our bank's SWIFT code: XYZBGB2L.
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IBAN Code

IBAN Code reduces errors in international money transfers.
Using the correct IBAN code is crucial for successful payment.
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Swift Code

SWIFT Code identifies financial institutions in international transactions.
Please provide the SWIFT code for your bank to process the transfer.
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IBAN Code

IBAN Code contains detailed information about the account holder’s bank.
The IBAN code includes your bank's country code and check digits.
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Swift Code

SWIFT Code is essential for global financial communications and transfers.
Your payment can’t be completed without the recipient bank’s SWIFT code.
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Dec 04, 2023

IBAN Code

IBAN Code ensures accurate and efficient international banking transactions.
Please double-check the IBAN code before sending the money.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What does IBAN stand for?

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number.
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What is a SWIFT code?

It's a unique code used to identify banks globally in financial transactions.
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How long is a SWIFT code?

A SWIFT code is 8 to 11 characters long.
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Do all bank accounts have an IBAN?

Not all countries use IBAN, but it is common in Europe and other regions.
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Can I find my IBAN on my bank statement?

Yes, IBAN is usually listed on bank statements.
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Can two banks have the same SWIFT code?

No, each SWIFT code is unique to a specific bank.
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Is the SWIFT code same for all branches of a bank?

No, some banks have unique SWIFT codes for each branch.
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Is SWIFT code necessary for all international transfers?

Yes, most international transfers require a SWIFT code.
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Are SWIFT codes the same as BIC?

Yes, BIC (Bank Identifier Code) is another name for SWIFT code.
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Is IBAN used for domestic transactions?

Typically, IBAN is used for international transactions, not domestic.
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Is IBAN sufficient for international money transfer?

IBAN is essential, but additional information like SWIFT code is often needed.
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Are IBAN codes the same for all accounts in a bank?

No, each bank account has a unique IBAN.
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How long can an IBAN be?

An IBAN can be up to 34 characters long.
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Can a bank have multiple SWIFT codes?

Yes, large banks often have different SWIFT codes for various branches or services.
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How do I find a bank’s SWIFT code?

You can find it on the bank’s website, statements, or by contacting the bank.
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Why is SWIFT code important in international trade?

It ensures secure and accurate routing of cross-border payments.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 10, 2023

Does the US use IBAN for bank transfers?

The US does not typically use IBAN for domestic or international transfers.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 10, 2023

What happens if I use the wrong SWIFT code?

The transfer might be delayed, returned, or sent to the wrong bank.
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Can I calculate my IBAN from my account number?

No, IBANs are specific and can’t be derived from just an account number.
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What if my bank doesn’t have an IBAN?

Other identifiers might be used, depending on the country and bank.
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Dec 10, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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