What Is an International Bank Account Number (IBAN)?


IBAN is an abbreviation for the term international bank account number, which is a standardized numbering system for identifying bank accounts when making overseas transactions. It was introduced in 1997 following the publication of ISO 136:1997 for all European Union banks.

IBAN is not your bank account number, and it doesn’t replace it whatsoever. It only helps to provide additional information on a transaction. Some countries like Germany and France require this number for any payment sent from overseas, while in others, such as the USA, Australia, and Canada, the number is optional.

In this post, you’ll learn more about an IBAN and possibly know why and when it’s needed.

How Many Digits Is IBAN?

The IBAN usually has a maximum of 34 alphanumeric characters. However, countries using the IBAN system do not necessarily have the same number of characters.

The number usually consists of the country code (two letters), check digits (two digits), and Basic Bank Account Number (BBAN) (up to 30 country-specific alphanumeric characters). It may also have the bank code that identifies the financial institution where the money was sent from.

If you’re required to use IBAN when sending money overseas, be careful when entering the number and crosscheck to ensure it’s correct. Some banks usually charge a fee when the number is incorrect.

How Do I Find Out What My IBAN Number Is?

If your country supports the IBAN system, you can check the number on your statement or online account. It is usually displayed together with your account number, branch address, and sort code. 

You can reach out to your bank for help if you’re not sure about the details.

Do You Need an IBAN Number to Transfer Money?

First, not all countries require an IBAN when transferring money. However, it’s advisable to confirm the requirements of the country you’re sending money to before making the transfer.

If you’re in Australia and want to send money to countries that require IBAN, you can combine your BSB and account number. Ensure there are no spaces or hyphens between the two numbers. A BSB number is a six-digit number that helps to identify your bank’s branch.

Do Australian Bank Accounts Have IBAN Numbers?

Australian bank accounts do not have IBANs, and they’re not used in the country, too. Instead, banks in Australia use swift codes. So, if you’re sending money to Australia, you’re likely to be requested the receiving bank’s SWIFT code.

What Is the Difference Between IBAN and SWIFT?

Typically, IBAN and SWIFT code are standardized methods for identifying bank accounts in international transfers. SWIFT is an abbreviation for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

The difference between SWIFT and IBAN is what they identify. A SWIFT code is used to identify a specific bank where the money was sent from, while IBAN identifies the particular account number of the sender.

You can find the SWIFT code on your bank statement or your bank’s website. There are also online services that list SWIFT codes to make it easy for you to find them.

Both of these numbers are vital in ensuring smooth international money transactions and transfers.

How SWIFT Codes Work In Australia

A SWIFT code is also known as a Bank Identifier Code (BIC), and it’s used by banks to send money to overseas banks. It usually has about 8 or 11 characters, and it’s made up of the bank code, country code, and the location code.

If you want to receive money from overseas, you need to give the sender your account number, account name, and your bank’s branch SWIFT code.

Also, if you’re sending money overseas, you’ll need to get the recipient’s SWIFT code to complete the transfer.

Final Thoughts

In today’s connected world, international money transfers help to ensure smooth business transactions. They also make it easy for people to send money to their loved ones. However, these transfers must meet certain requirements for them to be successful.

Thanks to standardized systems, including IBAN and SWIFT, it is easy to send money to someone overseas in a safe environment. Before making such transactions, take the time to learn the requirements for sending money to any country. You also need to know the maximum transfer limits.

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