What are SWIFT and BIC codes: Your cross-border payment guide

Read to learn about SWIFT codes and BIC codes

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What are SWIFT and BIC codes: Your cross-border payment guide

Running a small-medium business or working as a freelancer can be challenging, especially when it comes to receiving payments from clients in different parts of the world. One of the major obstacles you might face is the requirement for cross-border payments. They involve filling out several details, which include using SWIFT/BIC codes. In this blog post, we’ll explain SWIFT/BIC codes, how they work, and how they can help SMEs and freelancers receive cross-border payments more efficiently.

What are SWIFT and BIC codes?

SWIFT, which stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a global messaging network that facilitates secure communication and transactions between banks.

Let’s break it down for you in simpler terms. SWIFT/BIC codes are unique identifiers banks and financial institutions use worldwide to facilitate cross-border payments. These codes help ensure that money is transferred to the right bank and account without any errors or delays. SWIFT codes, also known as Bank Identification Codes (BIC).

Imagine you’re a freelance graphic designer in India and receive a payment request from a European client. Without a SWIFT/BIC code, it could be challenging to identify the correct bank, which could lead to you facing problems while receiving the payment. But with SWIFT/BIC codes, you can quickly receive payments from clients worldwide without any fuss.

Are SWIFT codes and BIC codes the same?

Yes, to clear the confusion, SWIFT codes and BICs refer to the same set of codes. Banks and financial institutions use this BIC/SWIFT code to identify themselves uniquely. With unique identification, they can easily communicate and make transactions in the global financial network.

What do they look like?

A BIC/SWIFT code typically consists of 8 or 11 characters, a combination of letters and numbers. The first 4 characters represent the bank’s unique code, also known as the Bank Identifier, while the following 2 characters denote the country code. The next 2 characters represent the location code, which can be either letters or digits. If the code is 11 characters long, it may include a three-letter branch code at the end.

For example, a SWIFT/BIC code for a bank in the United States could look like this: ABCDUSXX or XYZABCDUSXX.

How do BIC/SWIFT codes work?

Have you ever received a payment from a foreign country and wondered how your bank knows where to send the money? That’s where BIC/SWIFT codes come into play!

BIC/SWIFT codes are unique identifiers for sender and receiver banks. Think of them as a postcode or zip code for banks. When you receive a payment from abroad, the BIC/SWIFT code ensures the payment is directed to the correct bank account. This helps to prevent errors and delays in the transfer process.

One of the great things about BIC/SWIFT codes is that they allow for smooth and efficient cross-border transactions. You can receive payments from all around the world securely and reliably. However, it’s important to note that using SWIFT to receive cross-border payments can incur costly fees. So, always check with your bank to see what fees may apply before using this method is a good idea.

Say goodbye to expensive cross-border payment fees

If you’re a small-medium business owner or freelancer, you know how frustrating it can be to deal with the high fees that come with receiving cross-border payments. There are many payment methods, but the fees can take a big chunk out of your earnings and make it difficult to grow your business.

Winvesta offers virtual multi-currency accounts that are designed to help you reduce transaction costs. With our virtual multi-currency account, you’ll get your own US ACH, UK account number, Euro IBAN, and more. This allows you to receive payments from Europe, the US, and the UK with reduced fees and quick conversion options, making it a streamlined and affordable solution. Winvesta offers virtual multi-currency accounts for over 34 currencies from 180 countries, helping reduce transaction costs for cross-border payments. Withdrawals to INR are available in as little as 1 day, with rates starting at just 0.99%.


SWIFT/BIC codes are crucial for global financial transactions, providing unique identification for banks worldwide. But, receiving money through SWIFT is costly. With Winvesta, you get competitive rates and quick processing while withdrawing your earning in INR.

You can receive payments from around the world with reduced fees and quick conversion options. So say goodbye to complicated payment processes and enjoy a seamless experience with Winvesta.

Open your Winvesta account today!