The Gap

What is a SWIFT Code and how can you find one?

What is a SWIFT Code and how can you find one? 1

In banking, a SWIFT Code allows users to transfer payments internationally through the Swift network. Each code is unique to a particular bank and cannot be shared or interchanged. So, if you are planning on sending or receiving money abroad, you will need to find a bank’s SWIFT code to conduct such payments overseas.

There are several ways of finding the Swift Codes of banks like GT Bank or Zenith Bank in Nigeria, including contacting the bank directly or searching online. However, in this article, we shall simulate a conversation between a novice and an expert to show in simple steps how to find the Swift Code you are searching for.

Q: First things first, with advances in technology, banking transactions are fast but not furious. Is that where the word swift comes in?

A: Well, not really. The word SWIFT is an acronym for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. It is a global payment system used by all the banks in Nigeria and over 10,000 other financial institutions and companies around the world, across over 200 countries.

Why do I need a SWIFT Code?

Let me ask you this. When you send money to a bank account overseas, do you want the money to go to the right place?

Of course, I do.

So, when you send a bank transfer to family or friends in another country, your bank, e.g. Access Bank or UBA will ask you to supply a SWIFT code. This code helps identify the country, bank, and branch that your respondent’s account is held in. Without it, your bank transfer may not get to the right destination.

Okay. But how will I know my SWIFT Code? And what does a Swift Code look like?

A SWIFT code is made of either 8 or 11 letters and numbers. They are arranged like this: AAAABBCCDDD.

Where the AAAA, which is the first 4 characters, stands for the bank to which money is being transferred.

The BB, which is the next 2 characters, represents the country where the bank is domiciled.

The CC signifies the city the bank is located.

The last 3 characters, the DDD, represent a specific branch or office of the bank. However, they are not always included.

The SWIFT code can be found on a bank’s website, on your bank statement, or through an online search. You only have to ensure you copy down the correct characters when recording it, and check that it has 8 or 11 characters.

Can you be more specific about how I can find a SWIFT Code?

Okay. Let’s assume you need the SWIFT Code of First Bank or Keystone Bank. All you have to do is go to their website and see if they have their SWIFT code listed. Then check for the website’s FAQS, international payments page, or other related web links. If the website has a search feature, you can also type ‘SWIFT Code’ into the search box to take you to the suitable location of your search.

What if I don’t want to go through these rigours?

Then you can ask the person or business you intend to pay for their bank’s SWIFT Code so you don’t have to find it yourself.

What if the person or business does not know what the bank’s Swift Code is?

In that case, you’ll have to ask them for their bank’s name so you can look up the Swift Code online.

Okay. But where else can I find my Citibank Swift Code?

The same process applies regardless of the bank. Indeed, most banks will often put their SWIFT Code on their customers’ bank statements so you can check your most recent bank statement to find your bank’s SWIFT Code.

What if I don’t receive paper statements?

Then you have to log in to your bank account online and view your statement there.

Can I find a SWIFT Code with another method?

Another easy way to find the SWIFT Code for a bank is to search online. Two websites like and can also help you find a bank’s SWIFT Code. All you’ll have to do is choose your country, the name of your bank, and its location. Then the SWIFT Code will appear.

Can we digress a bit?

Go ahead.

Is a Bank Identifier Code the same as a SWIFT Code?

Sure! A BIC is the same as a Swift Code. Both comprise numbers and letters used to identify the country, bank, and branch that an account is registered to. They both provide vital information when sending a money transfer.

But is a SWIFT Code the same as an IBAN?

They are not the same because they are used to identifying different things. While a SWIFT Code is used to identify a specific bank during an international transaction, an IBAN (International Bank Account Number) identifies an individual account in the individual transaction. The IBAN, which is also used in many countries around the world, including Nigeria, has up to 34 characters, which includes both numbers and letters. However, both codes are important in the smooth running of international money transfers.

Thanks for that!

You are welcome.

Bonus: SWIFT Code Checker for Nigerian Banks

Click here to find the SWIFT codes of banks in Nigeria.

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