What is an IBAN?
Published 18 March 2016 by Kyri Levendi
To help you understand banking jargon, we’re taking you through what an IBAN is and when you’d need to use it.
There are a number of reasons why you may need to send money abroad, or receive it for that matter. You may be sending money to family in another country, receiving payment for something you sold over an auction site or paying for a purchase yourself.
Whatever transfer’s taking place, you’ll be asked for an IBAN to help this transaction go through. Not sure what this is? We explain all you need to know.
What is it?
An International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is something used as an internationally agreed method for transactions between banks located in different countries. It helps foreign banks to check the legitimacy of your bank account number and identify the country and financial institution that it is being held with.
Your IBAN is not a replacement for your sort code and account number, it’s a separate number that comes with extra information to help foreign banks identify your account for payments.
An IBAN is always used alongside your SWIFT code – you may also hear this referred to as your BIC code. This code helps overseas banks identify the bank, country and branch that the account is being held with.
Where can I find my IBAN?
An IBAN is between 15 and 28 characters in length, and will vary depending on the country that the account is held in. In the UK an IBAN is 22 characters long, and you may be able to find this on your account statement or your account provider’s website, along with your SWIFT.
Here’s an example of an IBAN and the information that it contains:
GB 12 EXAM 123456 78910111
GB = Country code
12 = Check number
EXAM = Bank code
123456 = Sort code
78910111 = UK account number
If you’re a thinkmoney customer your IBAN will vary depending on when you opened your thinkmoney Current Account. To find out more about this, head over to the Help and Support section soon.
As a thinkmoney customer your SWIFT code is the same for all: RBOSGB2L. A SWIFT code can be broken down as follows: the first four characters are your bank code, the next two identify the country your account is held in and the last two identify the branch of your account.
Making and receiving payments
When making payments abroad, you must quote the IBAN and SWIFT of the person that you’re sending money to. The same goes for if you’re set to receive funds from overseas, you’ll need to give the payer your IBAN and SWIFT. You shouldn’t give out extra information such as the account number or bank name as this isn’t needed.
If you’re a thinkmoney customer, don’t worry – one of our Money Managers will be able to walk you through this process. You won’t incur any additional charges for making overseas payments, although the person receiving the funds may do when the money is processed into their account.