The IBAN code is entered to facilitate making interbank payments. Instead, the account number is used by the bank’s IT system and represents the numbers on the front of the card.
IBAN is short for International Bank Account Number and is used to identify an individual account in cross-border payments.
A SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) a.k.a. BIC code is used to identify a specific bank during an international transfer.
The IBAN code represents:
Each current account has a unique identification number made up of 24 characters consisting of numbers and letters that identify the country, verification number, bank location and bank details.
The IBAN code was introduced by banks to facilitate interbank payments. The IBAN allows the identification of the beneficiary of the payment, even if the payer does not specify any other details about the account where the money should go.
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The first two characters of the IBAN code represent the country. For Germany, the IBAN code starts with DE. It is followed by two digits generated by a special algorithm and the identifier of the bank where the account is opened (4 characters) and a series of 16 other digits and letters generated by a special algorithm.
To collect an amount of money in someone’s account you can easily give them the IBAN code, they cannot withdraw money from your account.
You can find the IBAN code in the bank’s application after logging in, at ING it is called HomeBank. You can also ask for it from a consultant in any branch of the respective bank, but you need a bulletin.
IBAN example in Germany: DE89 3704 0044 0532 0130 00
Example of IBAN in Germany
DE 89 37040044 0532013000
Country code Check digits Bank code Bank account number
What is the account number
The account number is a unique number meant to identify a card. Every card that is issued worldwide has a unique number and no bank will ever issue a card with the same number.
The card account number is displayed on the front of the card, with a 3-digit security number on the back of the card. Although most cards are activated to prevent others from using stolen cards, it is vital that you keep your details private and report your card stolen or missing if you lose it.
The numbers on a card are not random. There is a definite order and the numbers give information about the card and the issuer.
Cards starting with 1 or 2 are issued by the airline industry.
If they are travel and entertainment cards (such as American Express and Diners Club), they will start with the number 3.
All Visa credit cards start with a 4 and all Mastercard cards start with a 5. The number 6 is used for Discover cards.
Example Account number on the front of a card: 5224 5979 8240 2811
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How do I find my BIC code?
To locate your SWIFT/BIC code, check any paper or digital banking statements, or look at your account details on your online banking profile. This is a unique code consisting of either 8 or 11 alphanumeric characters, and all banks and financial institutions are assigned one.
BIC stands for Business Identifier Code, having previously been known as a Bank Identification Code, or Bank Identifier Code.
For countries that don’t use IBANs (like the US and Canada), the SWIFTBIC system can be used instead. You’ll also need the account number of the person you want to send money to, because the BIC only identifies the bank not the individual account.