is SWIFT code BPI and what is it used for

What is SWIFT code BPI and what is it used for

Last Updated 23.05.2024

Understanding the Importance of SWIFT Codes in Global Banking

A SWIFT code is an essential tool for transferring or receiving money internationally, such as purchasing goods from Europe or selling services from the United States. The term SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. It serves as a method to identify the recipient’s country, bank, and specific branch where their account is held.

What is SWIFT in Simple Terms?

In simple terms, SWIFT is a global community of countries and banks that facilitates the rapid exchange of financial information and transactions among banks, investment firms, stock exchanges, brokerage institutions, clearinghouses, and more.

SWIFT technology oversees two types of messages:

  1. Financial SWIFT Messages: These are exchanged among users of the system.
  2. System SWIFT Messages: These occur between a user and the system itself.

SWIFT also enables individual users to send money transfers abroad to friends or family through their local banks, provided these banks are members of the SWIFT network.

Founded in 1973, SWIFT was created to replace the outdated telex communication system. Today, the SWIFT banking network includes over 11,000 banks and financial institutions across more than 200 countries and is managed by the central banks of the G-10 nations, including Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Switzerland.

Central banks from other nations also play a significant role in the SWIFT system. Countries such as Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Singapore, South Africa, and Turkey are connected to the SWIFT network.

Why is SWIFT Vital?

SWIFT is pivotal to the functionality of the global economy, facilitating secure financial message exchanges between banks worldwide, and ensuring the safety of international money transfers.

For individual users, SWIFT is primarily utilized for international money transfers. For instance, if you wish to send money to a friend in the USA or to your own account overseas, the process is streamlined if your bank is a SWIFT member. You can execute the transfer via your bank’s mobile app and expect the funds to be received within five business days, which is relatively fast compared to non-SWIFT systems.

What Exactly is a SWIFT Code?

A SWIFT code is an alphanumeric code used to identify specific banks within the SWIFT network globally. Essentially, it is a type of bank identification code (BIC), and these two abbreviations are often used interchangeably. SWIFT codes are crucial for international money transfers and currency exchanges.

The SWIFT code is used to identify the banking network of the recipient, and when used with other information such as bank identifiers and account numbers, it allows precise determination of where the transferred funds should be allocated. SWIFT codes enable quick and easy currency exchange and deposits into bank accounts worldwide.

A SWIFT code comprises several parts. The first four characters are letters that indicate the bank’s name. The next two characters are also letters and denote the country code where the bank is located. The following two characters are alphanumeric and help pinpoint the bank’s location. There may also be three additional alphanumeric characters that provide further details about the bank and the specific branch.

What Exactly is a SWIFT Code?

SWIFT codes, also known as BIC (Business Identifier Codes), SWIFT-BIC, or SWIFT IDs, are crucial for global banking communications. These codes typically range from eight to eleven characters and are structured as follows:

  • Four-character bank code
  • Two-character country code
  • Two-character location code
  • An optional three-character branch identifier

For instance, the SWIFT code for the Bank of the Philippine Islands is BOPIPHMM, where ‘BOPI’ represents the Bank of the Philippine Islands, ‘PH’ stands for the Philippines, and ‘MM’ denotes Metro Manila.

SWIFT codes are associated with various banking identifiers: BIC, IBAN, ACH, SWIFT-BIC, SWIFT ID, CLABE, Canadian transaction numbers, routing numbers, account numbers, and sorting codes.

Comprehensive Guide to Philippine Bank SWIFT Codes 2024

To streamline your search, we provide an updated list of SWIFT codes for major banks in the Philippines for 2024.

BankSWIFT Code
Asia United Bank Corporation (AUB)AUBKPHMM
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group LimitedANZBPHMX
Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc. (BDO), Makati branchBNORPHMM
BDO Quezon City branchRETHPHM1
Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited, Manila BranchBKKBPHMM
Bank of America, N.A. ManilaBOFAPH2X
Bank of China, Manila BranchBKCHPHMM
Bank of CommercePABIPHMM
Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Makati branchBOPIPHMM
BNP Paribas, Manila Offshore BranchBNPAPHMM
Cathay United Bank Co., LTD. Manila BranchUWCBPHMM
China Banking Corporation (China Bank)CHBKPHMM
China Bank Savings, Inc.CHSVPHM1
CIMB Bank Philippines, Inc.CIPHPHMM
CTBC Bank (Philippines) Corp.CTCBPHMM
Deutsche Bank AGDEUTPHMM
Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP)DBPHPHMM
Equicom Savings Bank, Inc.EQSNPHM1
First Commercial Bank, Ltd., Manila BranchFCBKPHMM
Globe Telecom, Inc. (GCash)GLTEPHMT
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd – Philippine Branch (HSBC Philippines)HSBCPHMM
HSBC Savings Bank (Philippines) Inc.HBPHPHMM
Hua Nan Commercial Bank, Ltd., Manila BranchHNBKPHMM
Industrial Bank of Korea, Manila BranchIBKOPHMM
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Manila BranchCHASPHMM
Land Bank of the PhilippinesTLBPPHMM
Maybank Philippines, Inc.MBBEPHMM
Mega International Commercial Bank Co., Ltd., Manila BranchICBCPHMM
Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metrobank)MBTCPHMM
Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Manila BranchMHCBPHMM
MUFG Bank, Ltd., Manila Branch (formerly Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ)BOTKPHMM
Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCOM)CPHIPHMM
Philippine Business BankPPBUPHMM
Philippine National Bank (PNB)PNBMPHMM
Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank)PHSBPHMM
Philippine Veterans BankPHVBPHMM
Philtrust Bank (Philippine Trust Company)PHTBPHMM
Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC)RCBCPHMM
Robinsons Bank CorporationROBPPHMQ
Security Bank CorporationSETCPHMM
Shinhan Bank Manila BranchSHBKPHMM
Standard Chartered Bank – Makati BranchSCBLPHMM
Standard Chartered Bank – Manila BranchSCBLPHMMEQI
Sterling Bank of Asia Inc.STLAPH22
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Manila BranchSMBCPHMM
Tonik Digital Bank, Inc.TODGPHM2
Taiwan Cooperative Bank Manila Offshore Banking BranchTACBPHMM
Union Bank of the PhilippinesUBPHPHMM
UnionDigital Bank Inc. (Pasig City branch)UNODPHM2
United Overseas Bank Limited – Manila BranchUOVBPHMM
Yuanta Savings Bank (formerly Tong Yang Savings Bank)TYBKPHMM

While related, bank codes and SWIFT codes serve different purposes within the banking sector. Bank codes are primarily utilized for domestic transactions within a country. In contrast, SWIFT codes are indispensable for international transactions, linking banks worldwide in a unified manner.

In the Philippines, a bank code, also referred to as the Bank Routing Symbol Transit Number (BRSTN), is a nine-digit number assigned by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). This identifier is vital for various financial activities including local fund transfers, salary deposits, bill payments, and more. For instance, Filipinos need their bank’s BRSTN when linking a bank account to their PayPal account. Each bank in the Philippines has a unique BRSTN that acts as its distinctive identifier.

The BRSTN code is essential for speeding up financial transactions, ensuring accuracy in the flow of funds across different Philippine banks. A correct BRSTN is crucial; errors or omissions can lead to delays, rejections, or even financial losses, causing inconvenience and additional costs for both sender and receiver.

Moreover, the BRSTN code is pivotal in international remittances. When transferring funds from abroad to a bank in the Philippines, knowing the recipient bank’s BRSTN code is vital to ensure the smooth execution of the transaction.

Key Features of the SWIFT Transfer System

  • Transfer Limits: When transferring money from card to card, the operation can only be conducted within the limits set by the bank’s tariffs. SWIFT transfers are regulated by the laws of the countries where the sending and receiving banks are located, as well as by the rules of the community.
  • Currency Transfers: Transfers can be made in any currency except the Australian dollar, which is unsupported due to the lack of guarantees from partners on that continent. However, not every bank can send money to any country in the desired currency. Firstly, the bank you approach must be licensed to handle the currency you need. Secondly, the recipient bank must have a correspondent account in the sending bank. If there is no correspondent account, the transfer will be made through an intermediary bank, increasing the transaction cost as fees are charged for each interbank transfer. Transfers in dollars and euros are universally available, but if you want to send money in a less commonly used currency, such as Japanese yen, it is advisable to check the feasibility of such operations and the total fees in advance: not all regional branches handle such currencies.
  • Commission Fees: Commission fees for transactions are set independently by banks. That is why it is essential to accurately calculate the cost of the transfer, taking into account all potential fees — this information can be found on the bank’s website when applying. Importantly, if there are errors in the payment order and payment clarification is required, informational inquiries within the system are also subject to a fee. If the payment is returned at the initiative of the bank or at the sender’s request, you will incur an additional charge. Some banks offer a service when accepting applications for SWIFT transfers that covers all expenses associated with the transaction for a fixed sum, which acts as a type of insurance. This sum is slightly higher than the base commission but will definitively cover all expenses that may arise during the transfer. If the service is not activated, any additional commissions will be billed after the transaction is completed.
  • Guaranteed Delivery of Funds: The crediting of funds depends on the number of intermediaries involved in the transaction and the difference in banking and working days among various organizations. If the transfer is not delivered on time due to faults or technical errors in the protocols, the funds will be returned to the sender, and the commission for the operation will be charged according to the bank’s rules.
  • Necessary Information for Transfer: To execute a transfer, it is essential to know the full details of the recipient’s account: the SWIFT code of the recipient bank, its full name in English, IBAN (the recipient’s account number), the name of the bank branch where the funds will be credited, and details of any intermediary banks, if established and known. If intermediary banks are not specified, the sending bank may select them itself or request further information.
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