An IBAN, or International Bank Account Number, is the customer’s bank account number in a standard, internationally recognised format. Used with a Bank Identifier Code (BIC), it helps to process international payments automatically, making them more secure and faster. It also helps prevent payments from being rejected, delayed, or sent incorrectly, which could involve additional charges being applied.
The IBAN is an internationally agreed-upon system created to facilitate the process of cross border transactions with a reduced risk of transcription errors. The IBAN code is used when making money transfers between banks, mostly to/from other countries.
Initially, the system was created to facilitate payments within the European Union, but it has quickly been implemented in most European countries (like when sending money to/from Spain) as well as other parts of the world, like the Middle East (UAE) and the Caribbean. As of February 2016, there are 69 countries officially using the IBAN system.
IBAN Code Format
The IBAN code consists of up to 34 characters, containing both letters and digits, and has the following structure:
- The first 2 characters represent the country code (only letters);
- The next 2 characters specify the check digits* (only digits);
- The rest of them represent a long and detailed bank account-number.
* A check digit is a form of redundancy check used for error detection on identification numbers