What is the Difference Between IFSC and SWIFT Code for Funds Transfer?

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The terms are used commonly in banking transaction where one needs to remit money through electronic transfer.

The main difference between two terms is IFSC is needed while transferring funds within the country and SWIFT code is needed while transferring funds internationally.

Difference Between IFSC and SWIFT Code for Funds Transfer

With globalization and an increasing number of people settled abroad, companies looking for investing abroad may come across of the term Swift Code. Here is basic difference and purpose of both the terms.


SWIFT code stands for 'Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication' code is a form of Bank Identifier Codes (BIC), it is a unique identification cose used by banks.

The Swift code consists of 8 or 11 characters. When 8-digits code is given, it refers to the primary office. The code formatted as below;

First 4 characters - bank code (only letters)

Next 2 characters - ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code (only letters)

Next 2 characters - location code 

Last 3 characters - branch code, optional

These codes are mainly used for the transferring of money between banks especially for international wire transfers and also used for exchanging of other messages between banks.

However, SWIFT does not assist in fund transfers but you must know the SWIFT code of the bank in a when you want to send money abroad.


IFSC code expanded as Indian Financial System Code (IFSC) is a unique identification code i.e. specific to a bank branch.

To transfer funds, one needs to know the IFSC code through RTGS or NEFT within the country , so that the beneficiary gets the funds directly in his account.

Of the 11 digits, first 4 alphabetic characters are indicative of the bank while the last seven digits that are generally numeric but can be alphabetic represent the bank-branch. The fifth character of the entire IFSC code is always a zero.

A typical IFSC code is as : HDFC0000351 wherein the first 4 alphabets serve to identify the bank and the last digits its branch which in this case refers to the branch.


Read more about: banks, swift
Story first published: Friday, January 16, 2015, 13:04 [IST]
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