What is an IBAN?

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. It’s a really important piece of information that you’ll need whenever you make an international payment.

The IBAN contains all the information that a bank or financial institution, like Money Mover, needs to identify the specific bank account that you wish to pay. It contains both a bank account number and an identification code for the bank itself.

The structure is always consistent, but the length of the IBAN can vary according to the account number format in the country in which the account is held. Its maximum length is 34 characters.

Let’s look at a couple of typical IBANs, the first for a UK bank account, and the second for one held in France, and decode them.

Here's a look at an IBAN for an account held in the UK:

GB IBAN Illustration (480x300)

And here's one for an account held in France:

FR IBAN Illustration (580x300)

  • The Country code is the two-character ISO code for the country in which the bank account is held. You can find these here.
  • The Check digits are calculated from information contained within the rest of the IBAN number and validate the account and routing numbers.
  • The Bank code identifies the institution holding the bank account. In the first example it’s easy to work out that it’s Barclays. In the second example it’s Banque CIC Sud Ouest.
  • The Branch code identifies the specific bank branch holding the account. You’ll recognise the number in the first example as a UK sort code. In the second example, the code is the ‘code guichet’.
  • The Account number itself is contained at the end of the IBAN.

Any exceptions?

Banks in some countries do not use IBANs. The United States and Canada use a combination of transit/routing numbers and account numbers. Australia uses Bank State Branch (BSB) codes for local payments and SWIFT codes for international transfers; New Zealand employs a similar process.

How can Money Mover help?

This is confusing, but don’t worry - the Money Mover web application will automatically select the right combination of account identifiers depending on the currency and country of your recipient’s bank account.