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P. What is SWIFT?

R. SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is a cooperative based in Belgium that provides a financial platform as a means of communication for the traffic of all kinds of financial messages between banks around the world, in a confidential, safe, efficient and standardized way.

Q. What is the SWIFT of Banco Nacional?

A. It must be interpreted as the BIC (Bank Identifier Code) which is BNCRCRSJ for Banco Nacional.

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Q. What is the ABA code?

R. ABA means the American Banking Association,and is a code assigned to banks in the United States that identifies the bank with the Federal Reserve Bank (FED). It is used for check clearing and routing of transfers. The code consists of 9 digits with the following composition:
  • The first two digits indicate the Federal Reserve District.
  • The third digit indicates the district office.
  • Positions 5 to 8 identify the issuing bank

Example: JPMorgan Chase Bank, New York NY USA
ABA: 021000021
FED District 02
10 New York (place where the branch is)
Number 00021 is assigned to JPMorgan Chase Bank (Branch)
If this code is supplied there is much security to ensure that the wire transfer will arrive without any problems.

Q. What is the European IBAN code?

R. IBAN (International Bank Account Number) is a code assigned to an account in Europe, which is made by the country code, bank code and account holder's account. It does not have a defined number of digits. It is necessary that the applicant of a transfer to Europe provides the account number, so the wire transfer is sent and there will not be compensation payments or transfer returning.

Q. What is the CLABE code?

R. The account numbers in Mexico are called "CLABE." The "CLABE" consists of 18 digits, with the following distribution:

  • Bank code 3 digits,
  • plaza code 3 digits,
  • account number 11 digits
  • 1 digit as control number.

The transfer beneficiaries can verify or find out the number of "CLABE" in the statement received every month. The whole number is included there. If this number is incomplete, the wire transfers will be rejected.

Q. What information should I provide to somebody who is going to send me a transfer from abroad?

R. Intermediary Bank:

Bank Name


ABA (U.S. Banks only)

(See information in the list of correspondent banks).

Beneficiary Bank:
Banco Nacional de Costa Rica
UI: 019462
Account (see account of the intermediary bank to be used)

Beneficiary name and account
Full Name of beneficiary: Same as recorded in the account opening
Full account number

Q. What information must I provide to Banco Nacional to send a transfer abroad?

R. Beneficiary
Full Name of beneficiary
Beneficiary Account Number, IBAN (Europe) or CLABE (Mexico)

Beneficiary bank
Full name of the beneficiary bank
SWIFT code or ABA of the beneficiary bank.

* It is not advisable or appropriate to make transfers without a SWIFT code or ABA *

Intermediary bank:
Full name of the beneficiary bank
SWIFT code or ABA of the beneficiary bank

* If the beneficiary bank has an account with the intermediary bank, it is important that the customer provides it, but if he does not have it on hand, there is not a problem *

Applicant´s information
ID number
Full Name
Exact address
Applicant's account number (savings or checking account)

Q. What is the ABA code of Banco Nacional?

R. Banco Nacional does not have an ABA code.This is a code that consists of 9 digits and is the identification assigned to all commercial banks within the country of United States of America for the compensation payments through the system Federal Reserve banks in the country.

ABA stands for American Banking Association and all U.S. banks must have an ABA code assigned. It is also known as: routing and fedwire.

Q. A wire transfer must be sent to me from the United States and they ask me the ABA code of Banco Nacional. What should I do?

R. It usually refers to the ABA code of some of our correspondent banks in the U.S., for example:

The JPMorgan Chase Bank, ABA code: 021000021

Q. In an outgoing wire transfer it is enough to indicate only the ABA code?

R. No, although the ABA code is used to identify the bank, it is always necessary to give the name of the bank and the address, which at minimum should indicate the city and state where the bank is in the U.S.

Q. What is the IBAN for Banco Nacional?

R. Banco Nacional de Costa Rica does not have IBAN code. The acronym stands for International Bank Account Number, which is simply the account number. This format for customer’s account was created several years ago by the European Union of Banks and their structure varies depending on the related European country. The account must always begin with the international country code, two capital letters such as:

  • IT = Italy
  • ES = SPAIN

It is also important to note that the IBAN code of the bank is not part of the account and the characters should never be separated with spaces, dashes or other type of sign, since every country has a set a specific size.

Q. What is the CHIPS UID?

R. The CHIPS UID is the identification code given by U.S. banks to banks outside the country to identify them easily. It consists of exactly 6 digits. It is necessary to have at least one bank in New York as the correspondent bank to get this code.

Q. What is the CHIP PARTICIPANT code?

R.It is a code that is used only for the New York area in the United States. It consists of exactly 4 digits.

Q. I have the IBAN but I do not have the account number. Is it enough?

R. Yes. Part of IBAN code numbers indicates the beneficiary's account. So it is enough if you indicate these numbers on the form as "payee’s account"

Q. Can I send wire transfers to CUBA?

R. No.

Q. Are the ABA code and the Routing Number the same?

R. Yes, they are the same.

Q. What currency can be used to send wire transfers abroad?

R. Any currency. Directly in U.S. Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Sterling Pounds, Euros and Swiss Francs. For other currencies the branch or agency where you ask for the service must first coordinate with our Money Desk.

Q. I do not have the ABA code or SWIFT. Can I send the wire transfer?

R. Yes, you can. But in this case you will be warned about the possibility that the wire transfer is returned from the lack of such data.

Q. I have the SWIFT but not the ABA code. Can I send a wire transfer to the USA in this way?

R. Yes, wire transfers to the United States can be sent with either of these data.

Q. What is the procedure to follow in case of a problem with the wire transfer?

R. Please contact one of our branches.

Q. What is the minimum amount that can be sent through a wire transfer?

R. There are not minimum amounts, but you must take into account that foreign banks charge fees and a small amount of money would not reach the beneficiary of the wire transfer abroad.

Q. Should I pay an additional fee in order that the beneficiary abroad gets the whole amount that was sent?

R. Currently, Banco Nacional has an agreement with some banks to ensure that the whole amount will be paid to the beneficiary. The commission varies depending on the bank and currency.

Q. Should the amount of commission be added to the amount of the wire transfer that will be sent?

R. No, the commission is paid separately and there is a note written in the application indicating that the whole amount must be paid.

Q. How are our correspondent banks overseas classified?

R. In general, correspondent banks are all of those banks where our bank has a commercial relationship, which includes an account, log signatures, key, etc.

If we have an offshore account in one bank, the correspondent bank is called direct correspondent. Our wire transfers, payments and other international business will be made through this account. If we do not have an account in this bank, but only authenticated message exchange in the Swift Net, the bank is known as an indirect correspondent.

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Q. What do I have to do to get my Social Security retirement payment or Veterans of the U.S. Treasury payment through Banco Nacional?

R. You have to open a savings account or a checking account in dollars in any of our branches or agencies in the country. This account will have neither beneficiaries nor people authorized to make withdrawals it. You also have to fill out the Direct Deposit Form at the bank branch or agency.

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Q. What is a letter of credit?

R. It is a means of international payment whereby the issuing bank guarantees payment to an exporter in another country, for and on behalf of one of its customers (importer), subject to compliance with the terms and conditions established in the letter of credit. The letter of credit may be payable at sight (against delivery of shipping documents) or in a specified period usually from the date of shipment, or in mixed payments.

Q. What are the requirements to apply for opening an import letter of credit? 
  1.  First, the applicant must present a guarantee or back up to the satisfaction of the Bank.
  2. Once they have negotiated the guarantee or back up the applicant must fill out and sign the application form, which supplies the information necessary to make the letter of credit.
  3. To pay commission and the cost of Swift message.
  4. If you’d like, you can attach a copy of the proforma invoice, purchase order or similar document, where general transaction data are indicated, so we are able to advise you better if necessary.

Q. If an exporter has an export letter of credit in his favor, can it be used as a backup in order that Banco Nacional issues an import letter of credit?

R. This form of backup is known as Back-to-Back. The Banco Nacional’s lending policies restrict the use of an export letter of credit as the sole guarantee for the issuance of an import letter of credit.

Q.For an exporter, what is the difference between getting in his favor a letter of credit advised or confirmed?

R. In letters of credit, the issuer bank guarantees the payment to the exporter, subject to compliance with the terms and conditions specified therein. In the advised letter of credit, the bank that advises does not assume the commitment of payment, so the beneficiary is guaranteed only by the issuing bank, which is usually located in the country of importer. By contrast, in a confirmed letter of credit, the confirming bank assumes the same liability as the issuing bank; therefore, the beneficiary in the first instance is guaranteed by the confirming bank (often located in their own country ) and in the second instance by the issuer, always subject to compliance with terms and conditions.

Q. What happens if the documents presented by the beneficiary to collect a credit card present discrepancies, or do not comply with the terms and conditions as the letter of credit established?

R. When this happens, the banks suspend payment obligation, and proceed to reject the documents. At the request of the beneficiary, the bank where the documents have been presented must report the discrepancies to the issuing bank, via SWIFT, requesting permission to do the payment despite the discrepancies. It can also send documents by courier for approval, detailing the discrepancies found in the documents.

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Q. What documents are requested by Banco Nacional to issue a performance bond or participation bond with the backup of a foreign bank?

R. The requesting bank which offers its backup must be a correspondent bank of Banco Nacional and meet an acceptable profile in accordance with its credit rating (risk rating) awarded by at least one of the following international risk rating agencies: Moody's Investor Services (Moody's ), Standard & Poor's, inc. (S & P) and Fitch IBCA (Fitch Ratings). In addition, it must send the instructions by SWIFT authenticated message, using a text acceptable to us. For more details please contact the International Department, extension 2541.

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Q. What is the alternative offered by the National Bank to cash a check drawn on a bank abroad, when it cannot be received on deposit?

R. For checks drawn on banks in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands) we offer the collection service Final Credit Service (FCS), by which checks are sent for payment to one of our correspondent banks in that country. The correspondent bank ensures the following deadlines for payment, counted from the date they receive the check, provided the conditions for payment are fulfilled:
  1. For checks drawn on banks in New York or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or drawn against Wachovia Bank, NA, at the end of the seventh business day.
  2. For all other checks, the end of the sixteenth business day. The funds would be available on the eighth or seventeenth business day from the date of receipt of the check by our correspondent bank.


For checks drawn on banks in other countries, we offer the Simple Collection service, which involves sending a check to collect, via courier, to the bank against it was drawn. In these cases, the commission charged by the foreign bank and the deadline for payment may vary from bank to bank. Also, our commission and shipping costs for this service differ from those established for the FCS service above. For further details please contact any of our branches and agencies.

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Q. What is the Central American IBAN code?

R. It is the standardized structure of the bank account number, used internationally to identify, in single way, the current account, savings account or a client's funds account in a financial institution. The IBAN number will allow sending funds transfers to and from Central America and Dominican Republic.