Why are IBANs being introduced?
The use of IBANs will standardize the identification of bank accounts. When a cross-border payment is made in Europe, an IBAN will be used to identify the account to which the payment should be made. Their use will reduce payment errors and delays.
The use of IBANs does not extend to UK domestic payments.
How will bank account identification change?
An IBAN is NOT a new bank account number. Existing sort codes and account numbers will be retained, and additional characters will be added to create a standard identifier which is known as an IBAN.
How will an IBAN be identified
An IBAN is not a single account structure to replace the national numbering systems. It is a way of representing national account numbers in an internationally recognised standard format. An IBAN adds a country code and check digits to the front of the domestic account number format.
To make a payment, you will need to quote an IBAN and its associated BIC (Bank Identifier Code) in the same way that you currently quote an account number and a BIC.
Example of a UK IBAN:
Country Code: GB
Check Digits: 99
Bank Code: RBOS
Sort Code: 123456
Account No.: 12345678
The country code identifies the country in which the IBAN was issued. It also indicates the national account structure to be used when deciphering the account number contained within the IBAN.
The check digits are calculated by the financial institution issuing the IBAN, using a formula applied to the whole IBAN.
Electronic and printed forms of an IBAN
When an IBAN is printed in paper form, for example on an invoice, the IBAN may be split into groups of four characters to make it easier to read. When an IBAN is processed electronically it must not contain blank spaces and must not include the word "IBAN".
What should I do if I receive an IBAN on an invoice?
You should quote the IBAN in the account number field on the payment instruction which you give to your bank. You must also ask your supplier to provide you with their Bank Identifier Code (BIC). This code tells us where to send your money.
Will I need an IBAN?
You will only need an IBAN if you invoice people in other European countries. In addition, your suppliers within Europe may ask for your IBAN.
How do I get an IBAN?
IBANs can be issued by your Relationship Manager or enquire through your branch of The Royal Bank of Scotland who will also advise of the suitability of obtaining an IBAN.