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Financial Dictionary - BIC


The BIC (Bank Identifier Code) or SWIFT (Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is an alphanumeric series used to identify and verify an account number. It is mainly used to issue transfers outside the European Union, and is an informative complement to the IBAN (International Bank Account Number), since it allows the issuing bank to be sent an encrypted message so that the receiving bank knows that it will receive the transfer and can confirm it. To understand us, this series allows banks to treat payments directly, in agile manner and without costs, which in turn lowers the cost for their customers.

The BIC code consists of eight or eleven characters that define the branch where the account was issued, and is configured as follows: bank name; codes of the country and province where the account is located; and branch code (optional).

In addition to this bank identifier, and as we have already mentioned, other codes are involved when checking an account. First of all, the customer account code, which is a series of twenty numbers that identified the bank, branch and account number.

But globalisation and the extension of financial transactions beyond our borders has made it necessary to issue agile and secure cross-border payments. That is why the IBAN code was created in 2014, which replaced the customer account code and is actually an evolution of it.

The IBAN is a common alphanumeric code established by the European Banking Standards Committee. It serves to unify and standardise the account system of European banks. The IBAN is shared by all the countries belonging to the single euro payments area (SEPA); it ensures a standardised and correct data transmission. Although each country has a different number of digits (for example, in Malta there are 30, and in Belgium 12), this code has facilitated the management of trade and transfer operations within the European Union.

In Spain we operate with 24 digits, distributed as follows: the initial two letters ES, correspond to Spanish accounts; then two check digits; four for the bank code; another four for the code of the branch where the account was opened; two corresponding to a validation code (a mathematical algorithm); and finally, ten digits corresponding to the account number.


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