The IBAN identifies the country, financial institution and the individual bank account.
Using an IBAN reduces errors and delays in making international payments. An IBAN is always used in conjunction with a BIC (Bank Identifier Code), and is not a new bank account number: it uses existing sort codes and account numbers – but with extra information. Please note that for SEPA payments, only the IBAN is required rather than BIC and IBAN.
However, you should never try to create or guess an IBAN. Simply contact the business (or person) you're paying and request their IBAN.
Your own IBAN can be found on your paper statement or on your online statement.
When an IBAN is in printed form, the number is split into groups of four characters. This makes it easier to read and check. For example, a UK IBAN in printed form would look like this:
GB99 NWBK 1234 5612 3456 78
When an IBAN is used to make and receive online payments it should not contain blank spaces or the word "IBAN". So, the above UK IBAN should look like this:
When you send payments to the EU, EEA, Switzerland and other countries that have adopted the use of the IBAN, you must quote the beneficiary's IBAN and BIC (Bank Identifier Code). Do not give any extra information, such as bank names, addresses or account numbers, as this can cause problems and delay payment. Please note that for SEPA payments, only the IBAN is required rather than BIC and IBAN.
Although you have to use IBAN and BIC for cross-border payments, you can also use them to make currency payments within the UK. However, if you're simply making sterling payments within the UK, you should use sort codes and account numbers as usual.
If you receive funds into your account from businesses within the EU, EEA, Switzerland or other IBAN-compliant countries, you must provide the payer with your IBAN and your BIC. Do not provide any account number, bank number or address information, as this could delay your being paid.
You can also provide your IBAN and BIC for payments you receive from other countries worldwide, including currency payments within the UK. For sterling payments within the UK, simply use your account number and sort code.