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A Bank Identifier Code (BIC) is an 8 or 11 character ISO code used in SWIFT transactions to identify a particular financial institution.   (BICs are also called “SWIFT addresses” or “SWIFT codes”.)  The format of the BIC is determined by ISO 9362, which now provides for unique identification codes for both financial and non-financial organisations.

As per ISO 9362:2009, the first 8 characters are used for organisation code (first 4 characters), organisation country (next 2 characters), and “location” code (next 2 characters).  In 11-character BICs, the last three characters are optional and denote a particular branch.  (Leaving off the last three characters or denoting them with “XXX” indicates the primary office location.)  If the 8th character in the BIC sequence is a “0”, then the BIC is a test BIC.