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What are IBAN and BIC?

Info by Never Rich Enough | 2012-07-12 at 17:08

For international bank transfers, the IBAN and the BIC are required. But what are these numbers in detail?

IBAN (International Bank Account Number)

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. The IBAN combines bank code, account number and country code (DE for Germany, GB for the United Kingdom, AT for Austria, CH for Switzerland) in a single number, so that it is possible to use this number for international transfers and you are able to see directly which bank and which account number is meant for any country.

The calculation of the IBAN and the length of the IBAN can differ from country to country. The IBAN always starts with the country code and a two-digit checksum that verifies whether the remaining numbers are correct. After that, the IBAN is different depending on the country: Usually the bank code number follows, possibly information about the type of account, the account number brought to a certain length and maybe information about the branch number, other checksums, a regional code or other functions. For these reasons, the IBAN is difficult to calculate. However, the IBAN is usually written on the bank card or the bank statement or should be easily obtained for foreign remittances.

BIC (Bank Identifier Code)

BIC stands for Bank Identifier Code and is also known as SWIFT address. The BIC is nothing more than a bank code number used for international transfers. This is necessary because the codes used for the individual countries are of course not unique internationally.

The structure of the BIC starts with a 4 digit bank code of letters, followed by a two letter country code (DE, GB, AT, CH, etc.) and a two digit code of the location. Then, optionally, there can be a three-digit identification of the branch or department. Accordingly, the BIC has a length of 8 or 11 characters.


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