A bank’s international ID is an identifier you can use when making or receiving money transfers. It helps to identify overseas banks and corresponding accounts to ensure your money reaches the right place.
There are a few different types of IDs, however. Some focus on banks, while others offer additional information such as a country code, plus details about specific branches and accounts. If you plan to send money internationally, it may help to know about these ID systems. You might need to enter and verify these details at the time of transfer.
In this guide, we’ll introduce the RIB and BIC bank international ID codes, outline where to find them, and when you might need to use each one.
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A RIB is a bank identification code in France – the term stands for Relevé d’Identité Bancaire. If you have an account with a French bank, this will come with a corresponding RIB – a summary of the account’s banking identity.
The RIB is what your French bank issues to outline your:
- Account number
- Sort code
- IBAN (International Bank Account Number)
- Bank name and address
- Bank sorting number
- Account holder details, including name and home address
- Bank Identifier Code (BIC) or SWIFT code.
You can find the country code on a RIB within the IBAN – the first two letters. Following the country code, there’s a:
- Two-digit IBAN code
- Five-digit bank code
- Five-digit branch code
- Account number and two-digit RIB key.
One key feature of a French RIB is the BIC code. To find the international ID of a bank, it helps to understand them.
What does a BIC do?
A BIC, or Bank Identifier Code, is an eight to 11-character code used to identify banks and other financial institutions around the world. They help ensure accuracy in money transfers.
When banks operating in different regions need to communicate or make wire payments, they use the BIC code to identify themselves. It can be particularly useful when international banks use the same name, or for smaller banking businesses who do not have a worldwide reach.
There are 44,000 registered banks and institutions such as credit unions in the world – so it’s easy to see how things might become confusing without the BIC code to verify them.
The BIC code is used within the SWIFT international payment system. SWIFT is the messaging system itself, and BIC codes are attached to the messages that travel within it.
Where to find the BIC?
To find the BIC code for your bank, take a look at your bank statements or other documents, such as a chequebook. Alternatively, you might log into your bank’s online portal to check your statement details there. If you have trouble identifying the right code, you can also call your bank and they should be able to help verify this information.
You can also search for your bank’s BIC code online – with your bank name, country and bank location data. You can also verify a BIC code this way. By inputting your country, city and bank, you can check the code lines up with what you have.
Your BIC code also forms part of the RIB code, so if you have this, you should be able to work out the BIC number.
A BIC code might look like:
Within a BIC code, you’ll find:
- A – a code that looks like a shortened version of the bank’s name
- B – a short, two-character country code
- C – a location code, based on the bank’s head office
- D – an optional three-character branch code.
For example, the BIC code for HSBC in France is CCFRFRPPDDD, and you might find the final three letters vary according to the specific branch. For Banque Populaire, it’s BPCBFRP1DDD.
You typically need a BIC code for international money transfers, including:
- Bank-to-bank account transfers
- International wire transfers
- SEPA payments.
To make a money transfer, you’ll typically need to know your receiver’s bank international ID. If you plan to send money outside France, it can be useful to ask for this information from your receiver before you start the money transfer process.
FAQs and guides
- How to send money to a bank account
- What is the maximum amount for an international bank transfer?
- What are the tax consequences of a money transfer abroad to France?