BIC and the ISO 9362 Standard
The BIC is an established international standard defined in the ISO 9362 Standard document available at www.iso.org
This ISO Standard specifies the elements and structure of a universal identifier code, the business identifier code (BIC), for financial and non-financial institutions that require an international identifier to facilitate automated processing of information for financial services.
SWIFT is the designated ISO Registration Authority (RA) for the ISO 9362 Standard.
BIC identifies organisations (excluding individuals).
BICs are either valid or expired.
1.2 BIC Structure
The BIC is an 8-character code consisting of the business party prefix (4 alphanumeric), the country code (2 alphabetic, specified in ISO 3166-1), and the business party suffix (2 alphanumeric). This 8-character BIC identifies the ‘Business Party’ and is also referred to as the ‘Business Party identifier’.
The 8-character BIC can be supplemented with a 3-character optional element to identify an organisational unit of the Business Party such as a specific location, department, service of the Business Party in the country where the Business Party is located. This optional 3-character code (3 alphanumeric) identifies a ‘Branch’ of the Business Party and is also referred to as the ‘Branch identifier’. The Branch identifier belongs to the Business Party identified by the 8-character BIC and, excluding a few existing legacy arrangements for co-operative banking groups, cannot be used to identify a separate legal entity or a third party.