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What is an IBAN Number? With Examples & How It Works

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What is an IBAN number?

An IBAN (International Bank Account Number) is an international numbering system used to recognize bank accounts in relation to cross-border payments. An IBAN number contains a Two-letter country identification code, Two check digits and Up to 30 characters for the Basic Bank Account Number (BBAN). Each country decides the BBAN format to cater to its national standard for domestic payments.

How to find my IBAN number?

In order to find your IBAN number, here are the steps:

  1. Check your bank statement: Your IBAN number is usually printed on your bank statement, along with your account number and sort code.
  2. Check your online banking: Login to your online banking account and navigate to the account information section. Your IBAN number should be listed there
  3. Contact your bank: If you are unable to find your IBAN number using the above methods, contact your bank's customer service. They will be able to provide you with the information you need.

Make sure you have the correct IBAN number when making an international or telegraphic transfer because any payment instructions made using the wrong IBAN will cause the payment to be delayed and rejected.

You can also expect your bank to charge a fee for the inaccurate payment.

In case you only have part of your beneficiary’s IBAN, you may want to find out the missing pieces by using an IBAN calculator.

We have tried this tool multiple times, and it was reliable in providing the correct IBAN Number.

Believe it or not, it is pretty common for beneficiaries to provide their payment details with an invalid IBAN.

To do so, you can use an IBAN checker that will help you flag any potential errors. By following these simple steps, you can easily find your IBAN number and ensure smooth international money transfers.

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How do you recognize an IBAN number?

It is a series of up to 34 characters, including letters and numbers.

The IBAN Number is not the same as the bank account number.

Actually, it includes the bank account number, plus some more characters that identify the country and bank you’re sending money to.

An IBAN number contains:

  • Two-letter country identification code
  • Two check digits
  • Up to 30 characters for the Basic Bank Account Number (known as BBAN). Each country decides the BBAN format to cater to its national standard for domestic payments.

Here is an example of what an IBAN Number looks like:

Example of a French IBAN Number format

Example of a French IBAN Bank number Format

Example of a UK IBAN Number format

Example of a UK IBAN number format

Why do you need an IBAN number?

An IBAN is needed when you make a cross-border payment and the bank of your beneficiary is located in a country participating in the IBAN system. When making international or SWIFT payments, you must provide the recipient's IBAN number, name and address to ensure the funds will be wire transferred to the intended bank account.

When instructing the payment, it must be entered in the field reserved for the beneficiary’s account number, without spaces.

Furthermore, in order to find your IBAN number, you can reference your bank statements or contact the bank directly. In addition to the IBAN number, you will need at the very least the following information to instruct the payment to your beneficiary:

  • The account name
  • SWIFT/BIC code

Lastly, depending on your bank, you may be requested additional information such as the beneficiary’s bank name, the bank address, and the beneficiary’s address.

What happens if you used the wrong IBAN number?

If you happen to instruct an international payment with the wrong IBAN, your payment will be rejected by the beneficiary bank and your bank will also charge you a fee to retrieve it. This is why using the correct IBAN can save you both time and money in the long run.


SWIFT/BIC and IBAN are internationally acknowledged banking standards for cross-border payments.

However, there are some key differences between those international transfer systems:

  • The SWIFT system was created before any initial attempts to homogenize international banking transfers through IBAN. Today, SWIFT is the largest international payment system worldwide.
  • The most significant difference lies in what they identify. Each IBAN pinpoints an individual account in a given bank in a given country. Each SWIFT/BIC code identifies a bank or a financial institution in an international transaction. Both information actually complements each other when a cross-border payment is made to a country participating in the IBAN system: proper routing of the transaction will be subject to providing the correct SWIFT/BIC code and IBAN in the payment details.
  • Unlike BIC/SWIFT codes, IBAN codes aren’t assigned by a central organization. They are directly issued by the banks according to a format described in the IBAN Structure.
  • SWIFT/BIC codes contain a mix of numbers and letters, and they are always 8 or 11 characters.
  • As a result, the SWIFT/BIC code is always required to process a transaction and the IBAN information is provided to locate the beneficiary bank account in countries participating in the IBAN system.

💡Did You Know? When it comes to international payments, SWIFT and BIC are used interchangeably.


What is the format of an IBAN number?


How do I find my IBAN number?


What is the purpose of an IBAN number in international transfers?


How long does an international money transfer take?


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