Banks can send money to overseas recipients using an electronic system, and this process is known as a cross-border wire transfer. To ensure that the transfer is managed correctly, several requirements must be met. For example, in some cases, the sender must provide official photographic identification such as a driver's license or passport. Most requirements are codes allowing the sender and recipient banks and the accounts to recognize each other.
Bank Name and Details
While it seems obvious, you'll need to provide the name and account number of the recipient of the cross-border wire transfer. You'll also need to identify the bank where the recipient's account is located, providing its name, address and domestic identification code. For example, if you are transferring money to an account in an British bank, you'll need to know the British bank's Sort Code, a six-digit number. Failure to supply this information accurately may lead to delays in transmitting the money or even a rejection of the transaction.
SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a financial message-carrying service. It provides a secure method for transmitting the details of financial transactions between sender and recipient banks, but it doesn't hold the funds involved in the transfer. More than 8,000 banks in over 200 countries use SWIFT as the preferred financial messaging service. If the recipient bank uses SWIFT, you'll need to provide the bank sending the money with the recipient bank's SWIFT code.
BIC and IBAN Codes
BIC stands for Bank Identifier Code, and all banks involved in international wire transfers are identified by a unique code that consists of eight or 11 letters and numbers. If you're transferring money to a bank in Europe, you'll also need to supply the IBAN (International Bank Account Number) code for the recipient bank. Recipient banks will supply their BIC and IBAN codes over the phone.
- SWIFT Information
- RBS: IBAN and BIC Information
- International Organization for Standardization. "Financial services - International bank account number (IBAN) — Part 1: Structure of the IBAN." Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
- SWIFT. "What is an IBAN number?" Download "IBAN Registration Form," Page 5. Accessed Sept. 18, 2020
Peter Lancett has been writing professionally for 10 years. He has five novels and a series of award-winning illustrated books currently distributed internationally. Lancett writes for film and television alongside his work for Demand Studios. He has traveled extensively and has lived in England and New Zealand.