What Is an International Bank Account Number (IBAN)?

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An international bank account number, often known as an IBAN, is a number that is used to identify a particular bank account in a manner that is conducive to the processing of international money transfers. IBANs may contain up to 34 alphanumeric characters and are based on a standard that is recognized globally. Because of this, they can be used in a variety of nations all over the globe.

IBAN: What It Is and Some Examples of It

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number, and it is a unique identification that financial institutions all over the globe may use to relate to a certain bank account. The information that is included inside the IBAN system pertains to the individual bank account, as well as the bank that maintains the account and the nation in which the account is situated. The information is used by banks in order to expeditiously move money to (or receive cash from) an account located in a foreign nation.

It is common practice to require the provision of an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) if funds are to be transferred from one bank account to another located in a different nation. There are certain instances in which banks do not employ IBANs; nonetheless, these banks are able to offer you with other instructions on how to transfer money into your account. When transferring money into a bank situated in the United States, for instance, you normally do not need an IBAN since U.S. institutions may not adhere to the IBAN standard.

The following string of characters might serve as an example of what an IBAN can look like: DE17ABCD12345698765. The order of the alphabetic digits and the way they are grouped together has a significant significance.

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What Is an International Bank Account Number (IBAN)? Source: Freepik.com

What is the Function of an IBAN?

IBANs are created and used by banks in a variety of nations throughout the globe according to the same set of guidelines, which makes it feasible to transfer money in a very straightforward manner. There is a maximum of 34 characters that may be included in an IBAN, each of which has a distinct function. The following order is followed by the characters the majority of the time.

Code of the Country

The first two numbers make up the country code, which indicates where the bank account in question is located. One example of a country code is the letter “DE,” which is used for Germany.

Check Digits

The following two numbers are known as check digits, and they allow financial institutions to validate an IBAN before proceeding with the processing of a transfer. Before transferring money, financial institutions are able to identify, via the use of a mathematical computation, whether or not there were any data input mistakes. Since it may be a hassle to reverse payments made abroad, it is in everyone’s best interest to avoid having to do so in the first place.

Bank Identifier

The bank identification lets you know which financial institution manages the account. This identifier—or maybe an extra code, depending on the country—may also be used to identify a particular bank branch that the account is associated with.

Number Used to Identify a Basic Bank Account (BBAN)

The BBAN is used to identify the specific account to which the transfer will be applied. This number is identical to what you may be familiar with as being referred to as your “account number.” This information is important since an IBAN belongs to a particular account, such as your individual or joint account, and so it must be provided.

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What is an International Bank Account Number (IBAN)?

Other Options Besides IBANs

When making some international money transfers, you can be asked to provide extra reference numbers. For instance, in order to simplify the process of making payments, you may make use of a Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) code or a Bank Identifier Code (BIC). Both BIC and SWIFT are often used interchangeably, and “bank identifying code” (BIC) is another term for “bank identifier.”

SWIFT codes, which function similarly to routing numbers, identify banks and other financial organizations located all over the globe. You will, however, need to submit extra information in addition to a SWIFT number in order to credit money to a particular account. This is because, unlike IBANs, SWIFT codes do not correspond to a single account held at a certain bank. In addition, there are circumstances in which it is important to supply both an IBAN and a SWIFT code in order to guarantee that your transfer goes through without a hitch.

When you make an overseas transfer, your bank may ask for your routing number, which is also often referred to as a “ABA” number. However, this is probably just the case when you transfer money into a bank in the United States. SWIFT codes and IBANs are often what are used by banks located in other countries. Because the United States is not presently compliant with the IBAN standard, it is possible that banks in the United States may not let customers to use IBANs.


Who Uses an IBAN?

IBAN was first made to make it easier for banks in the Eurozone to send and receive electronic payments. Since then, it has spread all over the world, but not all banks or regions have joined the standard yet, so you may still need to use a different system like SWIFT. Countries in North America, Australia, and Asia don’t use the IBAN to send money between themselves; they only use it when sending money to another country that has adopted the IBAN.

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Why Was IBAN Created?

IBAN was made to cut down on mistakes and improve the checking of cross-border payments. It does this by cutting down on rejected payments, transfer delays, and the fees and charges that come with them.

What Does an IBAN Number Look Like?

An IBAN number can have up to 34 letters, numbers, or both. It starts with a two-character country code, two check digits, and a Basic Bank Account Number (BBAN), which gives information about the bank and account. The BBAN part looks different from country to country, but it usually has a bank code and a branch code.

How Can I Get an IBAN?

If you use a bank in an IBAN region, you can ask for an IBAN. Note that an IBAN can only be used to receive money; it can’t be used to get money out of a bank account.

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