All about IBAN and SWIFT/BIC

iban text over businessmanHave you ever come across IBAN and SWIFT/BIC while transferring funds internationally but aren’t too sure what they are or what they mean? This post will provide you with a clearer understanding of the IBAN and SWIFT/BIC by giving brief descriptions, breaking up each part and methods of checking whether the IBAN or SWIFT/BIC is valid for international transfer use.

IBAN

IBAN, short for International Bank Account Number, is a globally recognized account number which is used for international bank account settlements. It is given in the name it is an International Account Number which banks use to transfer between accounts. It is important to note that not all countries use IBAN numbers. Below is a brief list of common countries which use IBAN for international funds transfers:

  • European Union (All Countries)
  • United Kingdom
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Pakistan
  • Jordan
  • United Arab Emirates

For the complete list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Bank_Account_Number

 

What is the IBAN made up of?

An example of an IBAN is

GB82 WEST 1234 5698 7654 32

With an IBAN, the first two letters is the ISO code of the receiving country. In the example above GB stands for Great Britain.
You can determine the country ISO Code by accessing the following link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-1

 

Usually, the last few numbers of the IBAN is the domestic account number. In this case, the last 8 bold letters is the domestic account number. The numbers in between the ISO code and the domestic account number differ from country to country. Please see below for a explanation as to what the numbers between mean from country to country: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Bank_Account_Number

 

How do we validate the IBAN? You can use the below link to verify the IBAN. For some countries, such as the EU, it will also give you the SWIFT Code and Bank Name: http://www.ibancalculator.com/iban_validieren.html

 

SWIFT/BIC Code

SWIFT code is a standard format of Bank Identifier Codes (BIC) and it is a unique identification code for a particular bank. You can think of it as an international BSB number. Each bank in the SWIFT system internationally has a SWIFT code which is usually used for transferring money internationally.

The SWIFT code consists of 8 or 11 characters. The code format is as below:

 

AAAA BB CC DDD

First 4 characters – bank code (only letters)
Next 2 characters – ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code (only letters)
Next 2 characters – location code (letters and digits) (passive participant will have “1” in the second character)
Last 3 characters – branch code, optional (‘XXX’ for primary office) (letters and digits)

For more information on SWIFT Codes, please visit the following link: http://www.theswiftcodes.com/

 

** This publication should not be considered as either general or personal advice and is only published for educational purposes. It is not tailored to any reader’s financial objectives, goals or needs. If you wish to make a financial investment which suits your financial objectives, kindly seek the advice of a licensed financial advisor. Kindly note information has been collected from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee their accuracy or completeness.