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What is a BSB Number?

This guide is to help those making a bank transfer in Australia, understand the role of a BSB number (or BSB code). Along with all the standard personal information called for when arranging a remittance, BSB numbers are a crucial component for ensuring funds are sent to the correct Australian bank account.

Updated: 06/05/2021
Read time: 3 minutes
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What does BSB stand for?

BSB is an acronym for Bank State Branch: a six digit number used to identify an individual branch of an Australian bank or financial institution. The Australian Payments Network is oversees BSB numbers and is responsible for ensuring all Australian banks and branches have a unified system of identification.

When it comes to money transfers, BSB numbers play a similar role to SWIFT codes. However, unlike the SWIFT network, BSB numbers are unique to Australia’s banking system and used to send domestic payments within Australia as well as receiving international payments.

BSB code vs SWIFT code

If you are transferring money to an Australian bank account from outside the country, this will qualify as an international money transfer. Therefore, you will not need to use a BSB code, you will need the recipient’s SWIFT code instead.

What does a BSB number look like?

A BSB number, or BSB code, is a six digit number which appears in the following format:

XX-Y-ZZZ (XX = the financial institution, Y = the state where the branch is located, ZZZ = the specific location of the bank branch)

How is a BSB number used?

A BSB number will be used to send a money transfer from one Australian individual or business to another Australian recipient. The BSB number is essentially a bank branch identifier during the money transfer process. 

For instance, using the above BSB number as an example: 

  • XX represents the two digit code for the institution, ANZ banking group
  • Y represents the digit code for the state of New South Wales 
  • ZZZ represents the three digit code the address; 211 Clarinda St, Parkes NSW 2870

When will a BSB number be used?

Sending Australian money transfers within the country or receiving a money transfer from an overseas individual or business, will require both the BSB number and bank account number to recognise an individual bank account and successfully execute the payment. In Australia, International Bank Account Numbers (IBANs) are not used, so BSB numbers are used to process cross-border transfers instead.

What is the difference between a BSB number and an account number?

A BSB number and an account number serve entirely different purposes and are therefore not interchangeable. However, despite their different roles, they both provide information that is required when executing an Australian bank transfer.

While a BSB number is used to identify which bank branch funds will be sent to, an account number identifies the specific account which will receive the funds. 

Summary

We hope this guide has shed light on the role a BSB number plays in sending and receiving money. Whether you are initiating an Australian money transfer through your bank or with an international money transfer operator, you will need to provide a BSB number. Use our comparison engine to figure out the best transfer option for your Australian remittance. 

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