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IBAN checker

Helping you to make international payments

When you make or receive an overseas payment, you'll have to use an International Bank Account Number (IBAN). This cuts down on errors and delays.

It's important you check the format of an IBAN before you send a payment.

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. It's a standardised way of identifying a bank account.

An IBAN is always used in conjunction with a Bank Identifier Code (BIC) - a sequence of numbers and letters which identifies a bank and branch.

Not a bank account number

An IBAN isn't a bank account number. It can include your sort code and account number, but also includes extra characters.

Never try to create or guess an IBAN as the format is different for different countries. Always ask the person you are paying what their IBAN is. You'll find your own IBAN on your bank statement.

Printed and electronic IBANS

An IBAN will be between 15 and 28 characters in length, depending on the country where the account is held. UK IBANs are 22 characters long.

An IBAN will look slightly different in printed form than it will when it is used electronically - such as when it's being used during an online banking transaction.

In printed form, the number is frequently split into groups of four characters. This makes it easier to read. When it is used electronically it shouldn't contain blank spaces or the word IBAN.

For example, a printed IBAN would look like this:

GB99 RBOS 1234 5612 3456 78

While the electronic equivalent would look like this:


IBANs and BICs are used throughout the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland. They should be used on all payments to and from these countries.

Making payments

You must always quote the IBAN and BIC of the beneficiary. Don't give extra information - such as account numbers or bank names as this causes problems with the payment.

You can also use IBAN and BIC to make currency payments within the UK. But if you're simply making sterling payments in the UK, you should use sort codes and account numbers.

Receiving payments

If you're receiving funds, you should:

  • Give the payer your IBAN and BIC
  • Don't provide any other information, such as your account number or address

Although it's not essential, you can also provide your IBAN and BIC for payments being received from other countries.

It's important that you check the format of each IBAN before you send a payment. Our IBAN checker can verify the format of an IBAN from a member or joining country of the European Union, the European Economic Area, Switzerland and other countries that have adopted the IBAN.

If you haven't found what you're looking for or have any additional questions please call us.

Why do IBANs make payments easier?

All the EU countries have different ways of expressing account numbers and formats for making domestic payments. The IBAN provides one common style, (even though they look different) of account number format across the EU and EEA. It's easier for banks to identify if a customer has missed, added or transposed any numbers.

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Does it affect all payments or just euro payments?

Strictly speaking, IBANs only apply to euro payments. However any payment to the EU or EEA has the potential to be converted to local currency. We strongly recommend the use of IBAN and BIC for all payments you make or receive from the EU and EEA including sterling payments.

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Does it affect sterling payments within the UK?

No, you should continue to use sort codes and account numbers for sterling payments in the UK.

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What happens if I don't provide IBAN and BIC information to the payer?

The paying bank may decline to make the payment, which could affect your cash flow. If the paying bank agrees to make the payment, then it may levy extra charges for making the payment.

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Can I use IBAN and BIC for other countries?

Yes you can. You can quote the IBAN as your account number and the BIC as your bank details in the same way that you present the information for EU and EEA. The information is sufficient for the payment to reach your account at NatWest International.

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Get in touch

  • Call us on
    01624 637000

Lines are open: Mon to Fri 9.00am-5.00pm (excluding public holidays).
Calls may be recorded

IBAN checker

It's important that you check the format of each IBAN before you send a payment. Our IBAN checker can verify the format of an IBAN.