An IBAN number (or International Bank Account Number) is a globally recognised process for identifying bank accounts when sending and receiving international transfers.
In other words, an IBAN distinguishes a specific bank account when you send money abroad.
The idea of an IBAN number is to smooth the process of overseas transactions. More specifically, to mitigate rejected payments, errors and reduce transfer delays.
It’s of paramount importance to ensure you use the correct IBAN number. Otherwise, your money may not end up where you need it to go.
An IBAN number doesn’t replace a bank’s account number and sort code. Rather, it is to be used as well as these details.
What countries use IBAN numbers?
You’ll need to use an IBAN number when sending money to any country in Europe. It is also mandatory when transferring to some Middle Eastern countries, such as UAE and Israel.
In some countries, it’s not required but is recommended. These include nations such as Brazil.
Not all countries use IBAN numbers. For example, you won’t use an IBAN number when sending money to the United States, Australia, New Zealand and many Asian countries.
What’s the difference between an IBAN and a SWIFT code?
Both IBAN and SWIFT codes (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) are used to identify banks when transferring money to certain countries abroad. However, the difference is that while SWIFT codes distinguish the bank that the money should be sent to, IBAN numbers identify the specific bank account.
While not all countries require IBAN numbers, SWIFT codes are mandatory when sending money to the majority of countries, international banks and institutions.
Where can I find my IBAN number?
You can find your IBAN number by logging into your online banking, or at the top right-hand side of your bank statement.
It’s also possible to generate an IBAN number. It’s relatively easy to do. If you’re using a UK bank, just head to onto to your online banking, find the IBAN calculator and enter in your sort code and account number.
What does an IBAN number look like?
IBAN numbers are recognisable by the two-character country codes that preface them. UK IBAN codes start with GB and French codes start with FR, for instance.
Following the country code is the bank identifier, check digits and your account details, standardised for the code.
How long is an IBAN number?
As we said, the length of IBAN numbers changes from country to country. British IBAN numbers have 22 digits, while Norwegian IBANs only have 15.
Examples of an IBAN number
Below you’ll find some examples of what an IBAN should look like.
United Kingdom: GB33BUKB20201555555555
Using your IBAN number
As mentioned, you must have an IBAN number to send money to any country in Europe, plus a handful of other nations. Once you have an IBAN, it’s time to think about the other aspects of foreign exchange, like exchange rates and market movement.
To save money on your currency exchange, it’s best to use a specialist broker. While sending money abroad through a high-street bank may seem like the easiest and quickest way, it comes with a high price.
Banks usually offer poor exchange rates, and they tend to add on a multitude of hidden fees — these can seriously add up.
Unlike banks, Privalgo offers leading exchange rates with no hidden fees. In real terms, this means you receive much more of the value of your funds when you move it from one country to the next.
This will be especially pertinent to you if you’re exchanging large amounts of currency, like buying international property, for example.
When making international transfers, it’s easy to get lost in all the complicated language and abbreviations. Especially, if it’s your first time making large payments abroad.
This is why each Privalgo client gets a personal Relationship Manager, a specialist in foreign exchange.
As well as fine-tuning our solutions to your requirements, your Relationship Manager will take you through the process of sending money abroad in clear and simple steps. They’ll walk you through how to find and use your IBAN and SWIFT code.
This is to ensure that your international transfers are safe, secure and that you’re receiving the best possible service.
Get in touch with a Privalgo Relationship Manager today. Book a free chat to discuss your requirements and see how we can best meet your needs.Book a free one-to-one