BIC is the International Standard ISO 9362:2014. This standard specifies the elements and structure of a universal identifier code, the business identifier code (BIC), for financial and non-financial institutions, for which such an international identifier is required to facilitate automated processing of information for financial services.
The BIC is used for addressing messages, routing business transactions and identifying business parties.
SWIFT in its role of ISO 9362 Registration Authority issues BICs to financial and non-financial institutions. The BIC is used in financial transactions, client and counterparty databases, compliance documents and many others.
The ISO 9362:2014 standard is available from ISO.
The BIC is an 8-character code, defined as ‘business party identifier’, consisting of the business party prefix (4 alphanumeric), the country code as defined in ISO 3166-1 (2 alphabetic), and the business party suffix (2 alphanumeric).
The branch identifier is a 3-character optional element that can supplement the 8-character BIC, used to identify specific locations, departments, services or units of the same business party.
The ISO 9362 BIC standard has been revised in 2014. During a transition period starting in January 2015 and ending in November 2018, the existing conventions will continue to be respected. This allows users of the BIC to investigate potential impact and opportunities as well as to take the appropriate measures to update the back-office systems where applicable and at their own pace during this period.
Impacts for the users of BIC are described in detail in the ISO 9362:2014 BIC Implementation white paper.