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What is a SWIFT?

The SWIFT code is a code based on an international standard that identifies business institutions, which is why it is also called BIC (Business Identifier Code). Most of these codes identify financial organizations, to which a specific SWIFT code corresponds, by means of which they can make fast money transfers worldwide. It is known as such after the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, the international cooperative society in charge of managing these codes.

And although this standard is very popular worldwide, there are others that may be even more important, for example the International Bank Account Number – IBAN. This last one is also a code, but it goes beyond the identification of the financial organization – an IBAN specifically identifies an account at that institution, i.e. a customer’s account.

Initially the IBAN standard was adopted in Europe, which facilitated international financial transfers mainly in the EEA. However, during the last two decades IBAN has been adopted in other regions of the world, particularly in the Middle East and the Caribbean. Even Brazil, the most important economy in Latin America, implemented this standard.

Of course, because of its origin, IBAN is the basis for transfers made in Europe, more specifically in the territory of the Single Euro Payments Area – SEPA. This is basically a space with a single payment integration system, which brings together all the members of the EU, the four members of the European Free Trade Association and 5 other European states, including the United Kingdom.

Given the number of countries in this region that have adopted IBAN, the vast majority of European citizens and entrepreneurs use it constantly to make their international transfers. And although banks were the first to adopt this standard, it is the neobanks that have learned to make the most of it. For example, Blackcatcard, a Malta-based neobank with significant growth in Europe, manages IBAN accounts for its individual and corporate clients, facilitating the transfers they must make at a cross-border level. In fact, individuals can make up to 5 free SEPA transfers per month, after which they pay a very small fee of only 0.2 Euros for each transfer regardless of the amount. For corporate customers the fee is from 15 Euros upwards, a very competitive price in the European market, especially for entrepreneurs who need a SEPA business account to make payments to suppliers in other countries.

Undoubtedly, the financial market will continue to expand, as well as its inter-institutional communication networks, which will make it easier and easier to make transfers to any country in the world. If we take the case of Blackcatcard, we will see that they take full advantage of the SEPA system and the IBAN standard, which is expanding to more and more countries. It is not in vain that Blackcatcard offers its financial products even beyond Europe, so it has customers in other regions such as America, the Middle East and Asia; and it is already among the SWIFT members with the aim of implementing this standard.

Both banks and neobanks must be prepared to adapt to the changing conditions of our reality. From a certain perspective, neobanks show greater flexibility and rapid development, which makes them increasingly important as competitors in the financial market.

Jeff Campbell