IBAN stands for international bank account number. An IBAN bank number is used to validate bank account information when money is being transferred. Here’s more information about IBAN numbers and their uses in banking services.
IBAN Numbers Help Identify Banks
Bank transfers from country to country take less time when both the sending and receiving banks can be accurately identified. Various organizations have established codes and number sequences to help identify banks and make funds transfers easier. For example, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, address for each bank is called its BIC, or bank identifier code. An IBAN number can be used by transferring agencies or institutions to determine the correct BIC code for each bank involved in a funds transfer.
IBAN Numbers Contain Up to 32 Characters
IBAN numbers contain up to 32 alphanumeric characters in a sequence. The IBAN number includes the following information:
- Two-digit ISO country code
- Check number
- Bank and branch identifying numbers
- Unique bank account number
Any time you make a funds transfer that requires an IBAN number, you must be careful to check and double-check the data entered on forms. If there are typos or other mistakes in your IBAN number, your transfer could be delayed or rejected altogether. You may be charged a fee by a receiving bank if your IBAN information is incorrect or improperly formatted.
IBAN Numbers Are Not Always Mandatory
Dozens of countries have made the use of IBAN numbers in international bank transfers mandatory. A slightly smaller number of countries highly recommend the use of IBAN numbers when making international bank transfers.
Countries where IBAN use is mandatory include:
- Most European countries
- Palestinian Territory
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
Countries that highly recommend the use of IBAN numbers include Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Kosovo, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran. Many more financial institutions participate in the IBAN identifying system than those listed above. Always check with your bank when transferring money internationally to be sure it includes the IBAN number on forms for countries that require its use.
IBAN Numbers Are Found on Bank Statements
If you want to know your personal IBAN number, check your bank statement for the code as described above. Your SWIFT number may also be listed on your bank statement with the IBAN code. SWIFT numbers are not as long as IBAN numbers. A SWIFT code normally contains between eight and 11 characters, with the first six digits being all letters. BIC and SWIFT codes are used interchangeably, but cannot be substituted for an IBAN code when one is required.
IBAN Number Checkers Are Available
There are numerous companies that handle international bank transfers. Some of the companies have online IBAN number checkers that detect typos or other errors in an IBAN number before an international transfer is made. These services can save you time and fees by verifying that you’re using the correct IBAN number for all of your international banking transfers.