SWIFT (legally S.W.I.F.T. SCRL) stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. SWIFT provides a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment. SWIFT also sells software and services to financial institutions, much of it for use on the SWIFTNet network, and ISO 9362. Business Identifier Codes (BICs, previously Bank Identifier Codes) are popularly known as “SWIFT codes”.
SWIFT does not facilitate the transfer of funds; rather, it sends payment orders, which must be settled by correspondent accounts that institutions have with each other. To exchange banking transactions via SWIFT, each financial institution must have a banking relationship, either by being a bank, or affiliating itself with one (or more).