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Guides: IBAN Codes – What are they?

Technological advances, an ever increasingly global economy, and a highly mobile workforce all influence society in a number of mostly beneficial ways.  However, all innovations and societal changes present new challenges which must be addressed.

In the world of banking, the factors listed above, have made it necessary for systems to be put in place to help facilitate and ensure the security of money sent to purchase goods and services and for remittances (money sent to family members in other countries).

At one point bank account identification (bank, branch, routing codes, and account number) differed widely from country to county.  Lost or delayed transactions and increased costs were fairly frequent, in part due to the lack of standardised account identification and autonomous error checking.  Financial institutions realised this was a situation that needed to be corrected and in 1997 introduced IBAN.

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number, and simply put it is your bank account number in an internationally recognised format.  An IBAN consists of up to 34 alphanumeric characters. All IBAN begin with two uppercase letters, which identify the country followed by a series of number. For example a Saudi Arabia IBAN would looking something like SA03 8000 0000 6080 1016 7519.


iban number

An IBAN does not replace your existing sort code or account number; it is used only by banks to make sending and receiving international payments.  Many banks list your IBAN number on your statements or offer online tools that will generate your IBAN number for all accounts.

Banks use an IBAN number along with a BIC (Bank Identifier Codes), which are also known as SWIFT codes. This makes international transfers reliable and secure.  IBAN transfers have an automatic error checking protocol, known in the industry as a “sanity check”, which catches errors prior to beginning the transfer.

When sending money with TransferGo to countries in the EEA or Eurozone you will need the recipient’s IBAN number. Transfers to the UK or Ireland use either an IBAN account number or a sort code and a local account number. Accounts in the US, Australia, and South Africa use only account numbers and BIC codes.

Requiring IBAN numbers along with the full name of the person receiving funds (or the full name of a company in the case of a payment to a business) is just one of the ways that TransferGo protects the security of your payments or remittances and funds are usually available to the recipient within one business day.





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