The RIB verification, in brief
A RIB is an important element of banking in France. It’s a statement of identity that helps prove a money transfer is valid. You need this essential document when you:
- Pay a utility bill
- Set up a direct debit
- Send an invoice
- Make a payment to friends or family
In this guide, we look at RIBs in greater detail. Learn where you can find them, the information included, why it’s so important that the number is valid, and how you can make a RIB verification. No incomprehensible jargon here: we provide you with a clear description of everything you need to know about the RIB and its verification.
In this guide
- What is a RIB?
- Why is it important to check the validity of the RIB?
- How to check the information on a RIB is correct
- FAQs and guides
What is a RIB?
RIB stands for Relevé d’Identité Bancaire. It’s a bank document that acts as a statement of identity. It details the information of your bank, branch, and account.
RIB verification is useful for a lot of financial operation, including:
- Making cash deposits into a bank account.
- Paying utility bills.
- Setting up direct debits for electricity, gas, water, phone, and other bills.
- Sending electronic payments from or to a bank account.
What’s on a RIB?
RIBs are pre-printed forms that feature your banking information. Although RIBs look slightly different from one bank to another, they all contain the:
- Bank name
- Account holder’s name
- Bank address – including the Agency Code
- Home address
- Bank account number
- International bank account number (IBAN)
- Bank Identifier Code (BIC)
Where will I find my RIB?
You should find a few RIBs in the back of your chequebook. You can tear them out carefully and hand them over when you need one in person.
Due to the rise of online banking, you can also find electronic versions in your online banking account that you can send as email or message attachment. Or you can download and print off a RIB, which is helpful if you don’t have a chequebook.
It’s useful to have a few RIB copies in a convenient place. Download them to your phone or print off and keep in your wallet, so you always have one to hand. These days, it’s more common to use a photo of your RIB than to copy out the information.
If you run a small business or are self-employed, note that it is common to attach a RIB to the invoice (rather than writing the bank information directly on the invoice).
Why is it important to proceed to a RIB verification?
Although a RIB contains your bank details, it’s difficult for someone to withdraw money from your account or set up standing orders with it. You need to sign a permission form allowing them to. Your RIB, on its own, is normally only used by someone if they’re crediting your account.
Generally, it should be safe to share your RIB with someone else when they pay you money. It’s common practice in France. However, sharing personal details is always risky. You shouldn’t share your RIB on social media, for instance.
The main risk of giving such personal information away is fraud. Cyber criminals use a technique called ‘phishing’ to gain access to sensitive personal information. They do so by tricking victims into clicking on email links that appear to be from trusted senders – an energy supplier, for example. They could try to gain access to your RIB to commit fraud.
Other reasons to check a RIB validation are if a friend or family member accidentally gives you an incorrect or obsolete RIB, meaning you can’t send them funds.
How to proceed to the verification of the RIB and its information?
There are numerous ways to verify a bank RIB and prevent being scammed or a victim of fraud. The following techniques might help.
- Use an IBAN checker – as all RIBs contain an International Bank Account Number (IBAN), using an online IBAN checker can prove that number exists. If it doesn’t, the RIB must be incorrect.
- Use a BIC checker – similarly, as a RIB contains a Bank Identifier Code (BIC), you can run that through an online checking tool.
- Double-check with the sender – if you receive money from someone and there appears to be an error, contact them by phone or online and ask them to confirm each piece of information. There could be several reasons their RIB is wrong – they may have moved address and not update it, changed their surname by getting married, or simply made a mistake.
- Research online – you could search online for information such as bank or home addresses. It could be as simple as one number in a postcode being wrong that has you questioning a RIB.
- Phone the bank – the sender’s bank isn’t going to give away their personal details. But they may give you some other details, such as the bank’s address.
FAQs and guides
- Make an occasional SEPA transfer
- What is an international bank account number?
- How to receive a bank transfer from abroad