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SWIFT Code vs. IFSC Code: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on November 14, 2023
SWIFT code is an international bank code for identification, while IFSC code is specific to India for domestic fund transfers.

Key Differences

The SWIFT code is an international banking standard for identifying banks across the globe. It's used for international wire transfers and messages between banks. In contrast, the IFSC code is used within India. It uniquely identifies each bank branch participating in the two main electronic funds settlement systems.
SWIFT codes, also known as BIC (Bank Identifier Codes), are formatted as 8 or 11 characters. They are essential for international financial transactions. Conversely, IFSC codes are 11 characters long and are used primarily for electronic payment systems like RTGS, NEFT, and IMPS in India.
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) assigns SWIFT codes. This code provides a secure network for financial institutions to send and receive information. On the other hand, the Reserve Bank of India assigns IFSC codes to identify each unique bank branch.
SWIFT codes facilitate the smooth processing of international transactions and are recognized globally. Whereas IFSC codes streamline domestic fund transfers in India and are not used for international transactions.
In a SWIFT code, the first four characters represent the bank code, followed by two characters for the country code, and the next two for the location code. The IFSC code starts with a four-letter bank code, followed by '0', and the last six characters represent the branch.

Comparison Chart


For international banking operations
For domestic banking operations in India


8 or 11 characters
11 characters

Issuing Authority

SWIFT organization
Reserve Bank of India


Within India


Bank, Country, and Location code
Bank code, '0', Branch code

SWIFT Code and IFSC Code Definitions


Essential for international wire transfers.
Send the payment to our UK branch using the SWIFT code BARCGB22.


Contains 11 alphanumeric characters.
Transfer funds to HDFC Mumbai using IFSC HDFC0001234.


Facilitates secure global financial communication.
Use our SWIFT code CIBCCATT for error-free international transactions.


Specific to Indian banks for electronic transfers.
Use IFSC code SBIN0001707 for NEFT to State Bank of India, Delhi.


A global identification code for banks.
The SWIFT code for Bank of America in New York is BOFAUS3N.


Vital for NEFT, RTGS, and IMPS transactions.
Please provide the IFSC code to process your RTGS transfer.


Unique identifier for financial institutions.
The SWIFT code HSBCSGSG is required for transferring money to HSBC in Singapore.


Issued by the Reserve Bank of India.
The IFSC code ICIC0000555 is designated by RBI for ICICI Bank.


Comprises bank, country, and location codes.
Deutsche Bank's SWIFT code DEUTDEFF indicates its presence in Frankfurt, Germany.


Identifies individual bank branches.
For deposit, use branch IFSC PUNB0421300.


Do all banks have a SWIFT code?

Not all, but most major banks involved in international transactions have a SWIFT code.

How many digits are in a SWIFT code?

A SWIFT code can be 8 or 11 digits long.

What does SWIFT code stand for?

SWIFT code stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication code.

How can I find my bank's IFSC code?

It's usually on your bank's cheque leaf, passbook, or website.

Can SWIFT codes be used for domestic transactions?

No, SWIFT codes are primarily for international transactions.

Is the SWIFT code the same as the bank’s routing number?

No, they serve different purposes and are used in different contexts.

Can I find the IFSC code using the bank’s SWIFT code?

No, they are different codes and one cannot be derived from the other.

Can IFSC code be used for international transfers?

No, IFSC codes are only for domestic fund transfers in India.

Can a SWIFT code be changed?

Yes, a bank’s SWIFT code can change if it undergoes structural changes.

Can two banks have the same SWIFT code?

No, each SWIFT code is unique to a specific bank or its branch.

Can the IFSC code be used outside India?

No, it’s specific to the Indian banking system.

How often do IFSC codes change?

They change only if the bank undergoes restructuring or branch changes.

Is a SWIFT code the same as an IBAN?

No, they are different; IBAN is used for identifying individual bank accounts, while SWIFT is for banks.

Do I need an IFSC code for cheque transactions?

No, IFSC codes are not required for cheque-based transactions.

What is the primary purpose of an IFSC code?

It's used for facilitating electronic payments within India.

Does the IFSC code change with bank branches?

Yes, each bank branch in India has a unique IFSC code.

Is the SWIFT code necessary for receiving money from abroad?

Yes, it's essential for receiving international wire transfers.

Are SWIFT codes confidential?

No, they are meant to be shared for transactional purposes.

Is sharing an IFSC code safe?

Yes, sharing an IFSC code is safe as it’s meant for public knowledge.

Is an IFSC code needed for cash deposits?

No, it’s mainly for electronic fund transfers like NEFT, RTGS, and IMPS.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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