What is an IBAN?

what is an IBAN ?

An IBAN (International Bank Account Number) is an international bank account identifier used to uniquely identify the account of a customer at a financial institution. 

It is an internationally agreed system of identifying international bank accounts to better facilitate the communication and processing of international money transfers. It is the only permissible account identifier for SEPA payments. 

ISO has designated SWIFT to act as the registration authority for national IBAN formats and the ISO 13616 standard specifies the structure of an ISO-compliant national IBAN format. 


Which countries use IBAN?

IBAN is supported in over 70 countries worldwide. Although originally designed for transactions between banks in the Eurozone, IBANs are now used in many countries in the Middle East, North Africa and the Caribbean.  

Banks in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and China do not use IBAN codes. They use SWIFT codes and routing numbers.  

If you need support for sending money to any non-IBAN countries, a payments provider like Fexco will help you with formatting bank details to make sure your payment is delivered error-free. 


What Does an IBAN look like?

An IBAN consists of up to 34 alphanumeric characters broken down as such: 

  • Country Code (A-Z) : 2 letter code.
  • Control Code (0-9) : 2 number code.
  • Remaining: up to 30 letters and numbers which represent the domestic bank and account number 

It is important to note that there are no spaces in an IBAN when transmitted electronically. When printed it is expressed in groups of four characters separated by a single space, the last group being of variable length. 

 Each country has different fixed lengths  for IBANS. For example, both Ireland and the UK have IBANS which are 22 characters in length while Belgium has only 16 and Cyprus 28. 

 When making an international payment, make sure that the IBAN you have been given matches the country in which the beneficiary account resides. 


What does an Irish IBAN look like? 

Taking Allied Irish Banks (AIB) as an example, the IBAN length is 22 characters.  For a recipient of a payment who holds a bank account in Killorglin, Co Kerry, the IBAN would look like this. 

AIB IBAN example  Killorglin, Co Kerry  IE91AIBK93634001234567 
IBAN in print format  IE91 AIBK 9363 4001 2345 67 
Country code  IE 
Check digits  91 
Bank code  AIBK 
Branch code  936340 
Bank account number  01234567 

Other examples of country specific IBANs 

The IBAN registry produced by SWIFT  contains the details of each country’s IBAN format and is updated regularly. Some examples of particular country formats are: 

United Arab Emirates: AE070331234567890123456 

Cyprus: CY17002001280000001200527600 

Czech Republic: CZ6508000000192000145399 

 United Kingdom: GB29NWBK60161331926819 


Is BBAN the same as IBAN?

 A BBAN or Basic Bank Account Number differs from an IBAN in that it just represents the bank identifier, bank branch and account number. An IBAN consists of the  two-letter country code, two check digits and a Basic Bank Account Number (BBAN). 

 So, in a nutshell,the BBAN serves as the core of the IBAN and is found by simply removing the first 4 alphanumeric characters in an IBAN. 


What’s the difference between a BIC and an IBAN?

A SWIFT BIC code or Bank Identifier Code refers to the specific financial institution in the cross-border payment process, whereas an IBAN number identifies the specific country and the individual account number .  

For countries like the USA who do not use IBAN, any payment to a US financial institution will be required to use either a BIC code and account number or an ABA Routing number and account number when transferring funds. 


How do I find out what my IBAN is?

You will need to give your IBAN and (BIC) details if you are receiving money from somebody outside Ireland/UK. You can find your IBAN on any of your bank statement’s e statements or on your online banking app. You can also contact your bank if you do not have access to online banking.


Fexco  provides international money transfers for personal clients and business payment solutions to commercial clients. Open a free account today and get access to bank-beating FX rates and expert guidance on payment formatting for specific countries. Alternatively, contact our payment specialists if you have a particular query on moving money overseas.

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