What is an IBAN and a BIC?
Before we go into the detail of what you find in an IBAN and a BIC, it’s important to understand what they are.
IBAN is the acronym for International Bank Account Number. This international standard is used to identify bank accounts. It provides a complete, standardised and unique number that identifies any bank account, regardless of the country or bank where the account is held.”
“The system has only been in existence since 1997 and is used today in about fifty countries around the world.
BIC stands for Business Identifier Code. Again, this is a standard, which is used to define a universal identification code for banks. Each bank that is registered on the SWIFT system has a unique BIC identification code.
The two codes work together to ensure financial transactions can be carried out successfully, rapidly, with total security, in a reliable and traceable manner.
What are the IBAN and BIC naming conventions? What do the two codes contain?
There is a standard format for IBANs.
The IBAN’s length varies according to the country where the bank account is based. It can range from 14 to 34 characters. A Swiss IBAN, for example, has 21 characters, whereas in France IBANs have 27 characters and German ones have 22.
The fact that the IBAN specifies the country, bank and target account, means it is by definition unique.
While IBAN structure is standardised, it still allows for extra information to be included. In France for example, it is possible to include the local branch of the bank where the account is held.
The BIC structure is also standardised.
Unlike the IBAN, the BIC’s size is uniform, regardless of the country or bank.
Frequently however, banks provide BIC codes without branch codes, because these only provide a location, and they can be replaced generically by XXX or simply not included.
How can an IBAN be checked?
At b-sharpe, we systematically check the IBAN that you enter in your client space. Several websites enable you to check or work out the IBAN of a supplier or client.
We recommend using IBAN Calculator for example. The site is extremely comprehensive, and very reliable when it comes to checking IBANs.
Where can you find our IBANs?
You can find our IBANs are directly in your client space under « b-sharpe bank accounts ».
Differences and similarities with RIBs
A RIB or ‘Relevé d’identité bancaire’ is a document provided by French banks, with all of the information concerning your bank account. Along with your IBAN and BIC, it will also often include your full name, address, account number as well as the name and address of your bank.
When carrying out a banking operation, only the IBAN, the BIC, and the name and address of the recipient are mandatory. The other details are purely informative.