How to Find IBAN Number
IBAN, the International Bank Account Number, is an international numbering system used to identify an overseas bank account. The code allows international identification and is unique to an individual bank account. The system aims to simplify and improve inter-bank communications, and it is a globally recognized standard — but not applicable in all cases. Learn what an IBAN is, where to find it, and when it is necessary to use.
What Is an IBAN Number?
European banks introduced IBAN to simplify international transactions by standardizing foreign account identification. However, they can also be used for domestic transfers. The number consists of a two-letter country code, two check digits, and up to 35 alphanumeric characters. This covers the country, the bank, and the individual account.
The idea is to reduce errors by improving the verification system, as the code ensures that the transfer details are correct while identifying the correct account. This way, the IBAN standard aims to minimize the costs and delays associated with fixing rejected payments.
Though a globally recognized system, major economies, including the US and China, don’t use IBAN for domestic transfers and would only do so when sending a transfer to a country that uses it.
What Does an IBAN Number Look Like?
Here’s the anatomy and some examples of an IBAN code;
Costa Rica: [CR]
Two check digits [BB] are calculated based on a scheme called ISO 3166-1, a standard helping to define codes for the names of countries and territories. The remaining characters are referred to as BBAN (Basic Bank Account Number).
BBAN, involving the last three components of an IBAN, has a fixed length for each country, and it identifies an individual account and financial institution along with the country. Namely,
[CCCC] — refers to the bank code and identifies the bank
[DDDDDD] — identifies the bank branch
[EEEEEEEE] — refers to the account number, which can be 8 digits or fewer.
Which Countries Use the IBAN Number?
IBAN was developed to be used across the Eurozone region, but it is now a standard adopted by over 70 countries in and outside of the area, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Guernsey, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most of these countries use IBANs to verify and facilitate both domestic and international transfers, and entering IBAN information is required to send money to beneficiaries located there.
Major countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand; and emerging markets like India or Mexico have not integrated it into their systems. In those cases, and also in the case of developing nations like Nigeria, banks generally generate IBAN codes for international transfers that require an IBAN code. IBANs sometimes, like in the case of Nigeria, link a foreign currency account only to receive payments rather than a local currency account.
How Do I Find My IBAN Number?
More often than not, the IBAN code appears on the bank statements, but if not, customers can check the bank’s website to request or generate one. You can also opt for online services like a calculator, which generates your account’s IBAN from other account information. Note that this service is only applicable for accounts in countries included in the IBAN registry.
For those who are not in the registry, like in the US, banks may ask customers to visit branches to arrange an IBAN payment. Alternatively, customers can opt for money transfer services like Wise or VertoFX to open global accounts with IBAN codes. You’ll find that banks in countries that have not adopted the IBAN standard typically don’t generate the codes, because it’s simply not necessary as they can accept payments with the account code and SWIFT code.
You can verify an IBAN and find the bank and potentially the branch associated with the individual account by an online IBAN checker. While they share the same information, IBAN differs from a SWIFT code and other bank-identifying codes and doesn’t replace them. Also note that IBANs refer to the specific bank accounts, not the banks, though they identify the banks. So different bank accounts will have different IBANs.
When Will You Need to Use an IBAN Number?
Countries in the IBAN registry use IBAN numbers for both domestic and international transfers, like those in the SEPA region, while others only use IBAN when a transaction involves a country that uses it. You will need the IBAN code of the account you wish to transfer money to a beneficiary in one of those countries, regardless of the method of transfer, but may receive from those countries using SWIFT and account codes only. Note that requesting an IBAN code is a free-of-charge service, but not all banks offer it.
What Is the Difference Between IBAN Number and Account Number?
The account number is a unique 8-digit number representing your domestic account. IBAN, on the other hand, is an extended code allowing international identification of your account, which also includes the account code in it along with other country and bank identifiers. The last 8 digits of your IBAN is your unique account number.
What Is the Difference Between an IBAN Number and a SWIFT Code?
SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) number, much like IBAN, is a globally recognized standard — but they both identify different information. A SWIFT number identifies the bank involved in the transaction, while IBAN identifies the individual bank account. IBAN includes digits from the SWIFT number but not the whole code. They both are required for a smooth transaction and are not interchangeable. Both codes are usually displayed together while viewing account information.
Banks also heavily use the bank identifier code (BIC) instead of the SWIFT code, and both involve between 8-11 alphanumeric characters.
What Is the Difference Between an IBAN Number and a Routing Number?
The routing number system was developed by the American Bankers Association in 1910 and is still commonly used to identify US banks. The 9-digit code is unique to the bank’s location where it was issued and is separate from IBAN and SWIFT numbers. Only accounts from federally and state-chartered US banks are eligible to get a routing number, and it is necessary to send money to and within the United States.
How to Find an IBAN Number for Your Bank?
Not every bank may offer IBAN codes, especially if the country they are located in doesn’t use the system. When accepting payments from countries that are in the IBAN registry, you do not have to supply one and will only need a SWIFT code and account number.