Confused by the terminology banks use when it comes to international transactions? Well, you are not alone.
As you probably already know, to send or receive a payment anywhere in the world using a traditional bank, you need a SWIFT code. Or a BIC code. Or maybe a SWIFT/BIC code. But, what is the difference between these codes? And what is its meaning in a Chase bank account?
The good news is that once you’ve learned the lingo, finding the information you need for your international payment will be fairly easy.
Keep reading: How to activate your Chase credit card
- 1 What is a SWIFT code?
- 2 What is a BIC code?
- 3 So is there a difference between Chase BIC codes and SWIFT codes?
- 4 What are Chase BIC/SWIFT codes like?
- 5 How do I find my Chase BIC code?
- 6 Making payments through the SWIFT system
- 7 Do I have to pay to use BIC/SWIFT numbers?
- 8 Be careful with exchange rates
- 9 What is the difference between IBAN and BIC/SWIFT?
What is a SWIFT code?
To begin with, the word SWIFT is the acronym for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications.
This is a system that has existed for more than 40 years, whose function is to help banks communicate securely with each other. Banks that are part of the SWIFT network, such as Chase, can send payment orders to each other so that money can be moved securely between accounts based in different countries.
An important feature of this system is the swift code, a unique identifier that shows the exact bank the money is being sent to, including details of the country in which the bank is based, its location, and even the branch number. SWIFT codes are made up of just a few letters and numbers, but they tell banks in the network everything they need to know to get your money safely to its destination.
SWIFT codes all follow the same format and are 8 to 11 characters long. They are made up of different pieces of information to guide your international payment, which we will explain later.
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What is a BIC code?
BIC is another acronym for the words Bank Identifier Code and stands for Bank Identification Code. It is an 8 to 11 character code used to identify a specific bank when making a transaction. international transaction. It’s almost like a zip code for your bank, ensuring your money goes to the right place.
So is there a difference between Chase BIC codes and SWIFT codes?
Short answer: no. The terms are used interchangeably and they mean exactly the samethey are simply given different names by different banks and financial organizations. It is also worth noting that these codes may be called SWIFT/BIC codes, BIC/SWIFT codes, SWIFT IDs, or SWIFT identifiers, but again, in practice there is no difference between any of the terms.
What are Chase BIC/SWIFT codes like?
All BIC and SWIFT codes, and Chase’s are no exception, follow the same format. They are between 8 and 11 characters long and are arranged as follows:
In this case we have used the Chase BIC code. Next, we are going to break down and explain each of its parts, as they contain important information.
- CHAS. 4-character bank code that looks like a shortened version of the bank’s name.
- US. 2-character country code that tells you which country the bank is in.
- 33. 2-character location code that tells you where the bank’s head office is.
- In some cases, BIC codes have one more three-digit series of numbers that tells you where a specific branch of the bank is located.
Because some banks do not use the 3-character branch code, they will have a shorter 8-character BIC code, as is the case with Chase. For these banks, the branch code can be replaced with a triple X (ie MIDLGB22XXX) or left blank entirely.
Keep reading: How to transfer money from Chase to Bank of America
How do I find my Chase BIC code?
Obtaining the Chase BIC code is relatively easy if you know where to look. Here are a few different options to locate it.
- Look at a bank statement. This is the easiest and most direct option. The BIC code is often printed on statements, so all you have to do is review one, whether it’s printed or digital. If this option doesn’t work for you, move on to the next option.
- Locate the code online. Another easy way to locate the Chase BIC code is by entering the name of the financial institution, the city, and the words “BIC code.” For example, if we enter “chase bank swift code” on Google.com, the search results show that the code is CHASUS33; and thanks to the explanation that we have made in the previous section, we know that CHAS indicates the financial institution, US indicates the country, and 33 is the location code.
- Search in a database. Finally, you can search a BIC code database to locate the Chase code. For example, this website offers a service thanks to which you can quickly search for codes in an online database. This is also a good way to check and confirm that the BIC code you found elsewhere is accurate.
Once you have the BIC code, as well as all other required information, you are ready to start your international bank transfer. In this order of ideas, the time it takes for funds to be sent varies depending on the financial institution and the location from which the transfer is sent. In Chase’s case, the transaction can take between 3 and 5 days.
Keep reading: How do I find out what my Chase account number is?
Making payments through the SWIFT system
If you’re looking for the Chase SWIFT code, you’re likely about to make or receive an international payment. Either way, it’s a smart idea to learn a bit about how the SWIFT system works.
As we mentioned earlier, SWIFT is primarily a communication network, passing payment orders between banks. When it comes to actually moving a payment across borders, banks rely on a network of correspondent banks, which work together to move money from one place to another, ultimately reaching its recipient. There may be up to three correspondent banks involved in making a payment, so it’s a bit like your money taking a series of connecting flights to reach its final destination.
This system is generally reliable, but has some drawbacks.. First, it can take a while for the money to reach its recipient, depending on how the transaction is routed. And second, you may run into unexpected charges, as correspondent banks may deduct a fee from the payment to cover their costs, in addition to any initial charges you may have already paid.
These SWIFT fees are often described in the fine print of your account terms and conditions as third party charges. Due to the way the SWIFT network is set up, it may be impossible to find out exactly what the correspondent bank fees will be at the time you make the transfer. Unfortunately, this could mean that the recipient receives less than originally planned.
Do I have to pay to use BIC/SWIFT numbers?
Yes, most banks, and Chase is no exception, will charge a fee to process international payments, so you may have to pay to add 40-50 dollars to the original transaction amount. It is also possible, as we have mentioned before, that when the transfer is in transit, you have to pay a management commission from the intermediary banks. As bank transfers using SWIFT numbers typically go through 1-3 banks, these fees can add significantly to the amount of the transaction.
Keep reading: 8 things you should know before applying for a Chase credit card
Be careful with exchange rates
Whenever money is moved internationally, the currency may need to be converted from the sender’s local currency to the recipient’s local currency. And when banks and transfer services convert currencies, they often raise their exchange rates above the mid-market exchange rate, or the actual exchange rate you see when you Google it, by an average of 4-6 %, with the purpose of obtaining an additional benefit.
Basically, this amounts to a hidden fee that you have to pay and that can end up being very expensive. Therefore, our recommendation is that when making an international transfer, compare the offered exchange rate with the mid-market exchange rate using an online currency converter to see if you are getting a good deal.
What is the difference between IBAN and BIC/SWIFT?
While BIC/SWIFT codes help identify a specific bank when making an international payment, a Iban number allows to identify the individual bank account. The IBAN is a unique identifier for a bank account that is used by banks across Europe to ensure that payments reach their destination safely.