International bank account numbers (IBAN)

Sending or receiving a money transfer using your bank account? You may need an IBAN to make a bank transfer within the UK or internationally.

What is an IBAN?

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number and is an internationally accepted numbering system that identifies individual bank accounts worldwide. Banks use IBANs to process money transfers and ensure payments arrive in the correct location. You may need to use an IBAN to make a bank transfer within the UK or internationally.

Components of an IBAN

An IBAN consists of up to 34 letters and numbers and follows a specific format. In the UK, IBANs consist of 22 digits and include the country code, check digits, bank code, sort code, and bank account number.

IBAN code example

1 – Country code – 2 letters
The first two letters represent the country where your bank is located. This is “GB” for United Kingdom.

2 – Check digits – 2 digits
The next two digits are check digits. These are calculated with an algorithm and used to validate the correctness of the IBAN.

3 – Bank code – 4 characters
This four-character code identifies the bank.

4 – Bank branch – 6 digits
This six-digit sort code identifies the bank branch.

5 – Bank account number – 8 digits
Lastly, the account number is listed and is a maximum of eight digits. Generally, shorter account numbers are left-justified and preceded by zeros to make them eight digits.

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Where to find your IBAN?

You can find your IBAN by looking at your bank statement or logging into your bank account online. Because IBANs are combined account details, you can also use an IBAN calculator tool to make your IBAN.

Which countries use IBANs?

IBANs are used in most European countries and in numerous countries outside Europe. The table below provides information on the countries that are listed in the IBAN registry with the length of the account number for each country.

Find your country below:

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Frequently asked questions about IBANs

What are IBANs?

IBANs are codes that identify bank accounts internationally and are used to process money transfers worldwide. IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number and is made up of up to 34 letters and numbers that identify the country, check number, bank location, and account details. Banks use IBANs to ensure transfer payments arrive at the intended location.

What is the IBAN registry?

The IBAN registry is a catalog published by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) that lists IBAN format details of countries compliant with the most recent IBAN standards. In the IBAN registry, you’ll find information for each country’s IBAN format such as the country code, how many characters the IBAN is, BBAN length, number of characters for bank and/or branch identifiers, and additional pertinent details such as whether the country is a member of SEPA.

What’s the difference between IBANs and SWIFT codes?

Both IBANs and SWIFT codes are used during international money transfers, however, IBANs identify the individual bank account number while SWIFT codes identify the location of a specific bank.

What’s the difference between IBANs and BICs?

A Bank Identifier Code (BIC) is identical to a SWIFT code and is used to identify the location of a bank while an IBAN identifies the individual bank account number.

What’s the difference between IBAN and SEPA?

The Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) is a payment system that facilitates money transfers between European countries in Euros only. By comparison, IBAN is used for money transfers all over the world and allows for money transfers in multiple currencies.

Do I always need to use an IBAN?

Maybe—not all countries require an IBAN to transfer money. If you are sending money in person, online, with an international money transfer app, or another method, you may need to use an IBAN for both domestic and international money transfers in the UK. An IBAN will likely be required if you are making a cross-border payment and your receiver’s bank is in a country that participates in the IBAN system.

Does the United States use the IBAN system?

The United States does not currently use the IBAN system. Instead, U.S. bank accounts use ABA routing numbers for domestic money transfers and SWIFT codes for international money transfers.

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Rating as of 1 April 2024.

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