If you're sending or receiving money internationally, you'll need some extra details to make sure the transaction is processed safely. One thing you'll usually be asked for, is a SWIFT code. This simple, unique code, packs in a lot of information. It shows which bank, and where, you're transferring money to, helping ensure the cash makes it to the right person in the end.
You might also see SWIFT codes described as BIC codes, which is short for Business Identifier Code.
If you're making an international transfer to an HSBC account, or if someone is transferring you cash to your UK based HSBC account, you'll be asked for a BIC/SWIFT code along with details like the IBAN for HSBC UK or the bank address.
You can find everything you'll need to transfer your money safely, here:
|Bank Name||HSBC Bank Plc|
|SWIFT/BIC Code for HSBC||MIDLGB22|
|Bank address||8 Canada Square, 13 E04 01, London, United Kingdom, E14 5HQ|
|Beneficiary Account Number||Complete HSBC bank account number of the recipient (don't forget to include leading zeros)|
|Beneficiary Name||The name of recipient’s account as it appears on a bank statement|
SWIFT codes are internationally agreed, unique identifier codes used by banks to make sure your money goes to the right place if you transfer it to a different account. They're especially important if you're moving your money internationally.
You'll find SWIFT codes made up of several different pieces of information, with 8 or 11 characters, and a mix of letters and numbers:
AAAA - Bank Code
BB - Country Code
CC - Location Code
DDD - Optional Branch Code
You'll need a code which will consist of 8 characters for the bank's main office, or 11 characters if you want a specific branch.
If you want to send or receive money internationally you’re first off going to need a SWIFT code/BIC. This makes sure that the money being transferred makes it to the right bank. However you'll then need more information to show which exact account within the bank your money should land in.
If you’re sending money to any of the EU countries plus Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Hungary, you'll need an IBAN. This code, which stands for International Bank Account Number, identifies the country the account is in, the bank, and the account number.
In the United States, you might also hear about routing numbers which are similar to SWIFT codes. However, routing numbers are only used for bank transfers within the US, unlike SWIFT codes which tend to be used for international money transfers.
Each branch has a unique SWIFT code. You can check the correct SWIFT codes for your HSBC branch here. However, if you’re not sure, or can’t find the branch code, you can use the 8 character head office SWIFT code, and your payment will still make it’s way to your account.
If you need to make an international money transfer, it's worth checking the costs involved. Your home bank might not offer the best deal. There will be administration costs added to any transfer, which can be pretty steep. And even if your bank says they offer fee-free transfers, the exchange rates used are often poor and inflated.
Instead you could find a better deal with a specialist service like TransferWise. International money transfers with TransferWise use the real mid-market exchange rate, with only a small transparent fee. Transactions are safe, and can often be quicker than using your bank. So you can relax, knowing your money is being transferred securely, and with the lowest possible cost to you.