What is an IBAN bank account number?

With online transactions becoming smoother and quicker, an IBAN bank account number can help you transfer cash speedily and safely, even across different currencies. If you have clients or families overseas, transferring money online can now be achieved with just a few keystrokes. Check your bank's facilities for international transfers.

Easy currency exchanges across Europe

With many more people now conducting their financial affairs online, an IBAN bank account number allows for ease of transfers across national borders.

The number usually consists of a prefix code identifying your nationality and bank, followed by a branch sort code and your personal account number. The numbers allow quick validation and identification electronically.

Direct bank-to-bank transfers are useful for freelance workers who provide services to overseas companies. allowing their payments to be made directly into their bank accounts rather than through intermediaries such as Paypal.

If you have an IBAN bank account number for campsites, holiday homes or other accommodation rentals, it can allow you to book your holidays direct rather than go through agencies.

The IBAN codes began for the easy transfer between accounts in Europe, but the service has now expanded to cover the Middle East and several countries in the Caribbean and the Americas.

Transfer times vary according to the banks and countries involved. In cases involving sterling or Euro transfers, the transaction can often be made on the same day. Other transfers can take as long as eight days before the money is available.

Ask your bank to give a breakdown of the charges they make for international transfers. Often this is a flat fee rather than a percentage so it is a good idea to minimise the number of transactions.

Bank charges at both ends

Although the convenience of an IBAN bank account number transfer helps international transactions, the charges imposed by banks at both ends of the transaction can be annoying. If international payments are a regular feature of your business it is worth taking advice on the most cost-effective way to manage this.

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