IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number and they are called for when sending or receiving international payments. An IBAN is used to identify the individual account involved in an international transaction. This globally-established coding system is primarily practised by banks within Europe, but it is becoming more widely used by countries outside the EU.
The sequence of alphanumerical characters that can make up an IBAN number differs depending on the region/country, a 22 character example would look as follows:
An example of an IBAN is: GB25HLX11073611219664
The prize for the longest IBAN is awarded to Malta; their IBAN numbers are comprised of 31 characters. Conversely, the shortest IBAN numbers are found in Norway; where they are just 15 characters long. Do you know how long your IBAN number is?
Your IBAN number can be found on bank statements or in your online/mobile banking account. Alternatively, you can search for the IBAN on your bank’s website and by calling or visiting your branch.
If for any reason you are struggling to find your IBAN number, there are several IBAN calculators available online for those who need a helping hand.
Simply enter your home country, bank account number and sort code, and the calculator will generate your IBAN. The same goes for those who want to verify their IBAN number before submitting an international money transfer. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to moving your hard-earned money.
As the name suggests, an International Bank Account Number is used for sending and receiving interbank transfers. They may also be called for during other international payment procedures such as setting up a wire transfer.
As two very similar sounding financial terms, you would be correct for assuming these banking terms are interlinked.
Once you have found your IBAN number, it is easy to identify your account number: the last 8 digits of your IBAN is your bank’s account number.
It is easy to get confused by these two terms as they are both internationally recognised methods of identifying money transfers.
The main difference between the two is that a SWIFT code refers to the corresponding bank code, whereas an IBAN number identifies a specific account.
It is important to understand the different roles they both play in the processing of international money transfers.
To reduce cost when sending money internationally, you need to use the service of a money transfer company. Options such as Xe Money Transfer and WorldRemit have lower overheads than banks. These savings are passed down to the customer in the form of lower fees. Use our comparison search to figure out the best rates for the transfer you want to make.
Banks profit from large currency conversion markup percentages. Think of this as an added fee that can cost up to 2-4%. This means you are getting a bad deal for international money transfers requiring a currency conversion. In contrast, money transfer services match the mid market rate for many currency pairs. Therefore, you will save significant sums of money over the long term.
Wise is an example of a service that offers competitive FX rates. They also charge a percentage-based fee that is displayed with transparency before every transaction. This allows you to readily compare the cost of sending money with alternatives.
Elliott is a former investment banker with a 20 year career in the city of London.
During this time he held senior roles at ABN Amro, Societe Generale, Marex Financial and Natixis bank, specialising in commodity derivatives and options market-making.
During this time, Elliott’s client list included Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Schroders Asset Management, and the Pennsylvania State Public School Employees Retirement System, amongst others.
April is a trained journalist and the Content Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. She has 10 years experience writing about a diverse range of subjects, from financial services to arts and entertainment. When she’s not writing about global remittances she can be found daydreaming about her next holiday abroad.