What is my account number 2

IBAN: How the number is made up

Many dread when it comes to completing transfers. A number shifted quickly crept into the IBAN. But it is very easy if you know what the IBAN is made up of.

The SEPA procedure (Single Euro Payments Area) has been regulating payment transactions within the European Union (EU) and Switzerland since February 2014. The SEPA payment became mandatory for business transactions in August 2014 and for private payment transactions from February 2016. A major innovation is that IBAN (International Bank Account Number), a number sequence with 22 digits.

Establishing an IBAN in Germany

The IBAN consists of known bank details. It is made up of the previous one Bank code and the previous one Bank account numberwhich are only supplemented by the country code (for Germany DE) and the two-digit check digit.

  • 2-digit country code
  • 2-digit checksum and check digit
  • Up to 30-digit account identification (BBAN - Basic Account Number)

In Germany, each IBAN has 22 characters. The IBAN is separated into blocks of four. The country code at the beginning is always capitalized. Empty places are filled with a 0, there are no special characters.

IBAN componentsdescriptionAwardexample
country codeLL2 capital lettersDE
Check digitPZ2 digits12
Bank codeBLZ8 digits12345678
Bank account numberKTO10 digits12345

At the beginning there is the country code, followed by the two-digit check number. This is followed by the bank sort code with a total of eight digits and the maximum 10-digit account number. This is always at the end of the IBAN. If the account number is shorter than ten digits, the remaining digits between the bank code and the account number are filled with a 0.

Example:
DE12 1234 5678 0000 0123 45

Consumers only need to remember the country code at the beginning and the check digit following it. The remaining numbers come from the previous account number and the old bank code - now called BIC (Bank Identifier Code).

BIC: In the course of the SEPA changeover, the bank code was replaced by the BIC - the Business Identifier Code. Alternatively, this is also referred to as the SWIFT code.

Comparison of the IBAN in the DACH area

The IBAN length differs from country to country. For example, there are 20 positions in Austria and 21 positions in Switzerland.

countrycountry codeCheck digitBank codeBank account number
GermanyDE2 digits8 digits10 digits
AustriaAT2 digits5 digits11 digits
SwitzerlandCH2 digits5 digits12 digits

By the way: The IBAN without the country code and without the two-digit checksum is also called BBAN (Basic Bank Account Number).

IBAN structure in the SEPA countries

countryIBAN lengthIBAN format
Belgium16BEpp bbbk kkkk kkkk
Bulgaria22BGpp bbbb ssss ddkk kkkk kk
Denmark18DKpp bbbb kkkk kkkk kk
Germany22DEpp bbbb bbbb kkkk kkkk kk
Estonia20EEpp bbkk kkkk kkkk kkkK
Finland18FIpp bbbb bbkk kkkk kK
France27FRpp bbbb bsss sskk kkkk kkkk kKK
Greece27GRpp bbb bbbb kkkk kkkk kkkk kkkk
Ireland22IEpp bbbb ssss sskk kkkk kk
Iceland26ISpp bbbb kkkk kkkk XXXX XXXX XX
Italy27ITpp Pbbb bbss sssk kkkk kkkk kkk
Croatia21HRpp bbbb bbbk kkkk kkkk k
Latvia21LVpp bbbb kkkk kkkk kkkk k
Liechtenstein21LIpp bbbb bkkk kkkk kkkk k
Lithuania20LTpp bbbb bkkk kkkk kkkk
Luxembourg20LUpp bbbk kkkk kkkk kkkk
Malta31MTpp bbbb ssss sskk kkkk kkkk kkkk kkk
Monaco27MCpp bbbb bsss sskk kkkk kkkk kKK
Netherlands18NLpp bbbb kkkk kkkk kk
Norway15NOpp bbbb kkkk kkk
Austria20ATpp bbbb bkkk kkkk kkkk
Poland28PLpp bbbb bbbK kkkk kkkk kkkk kkkk
Portugal25PTpp bbbb bbbb kkkk kkkk kkkKK
Romania24ROpp bbbb kkkk kkkk kkkk kkkk
San Marino27SMpp Kbbb bbss sssk kkkk kkkk kkk
Sweden24SEpp bbbk kkkk kkkk kkkk kkkk
Switzerland21CHpp bbbb bkkk kkkk kkkk k
Slovakia24SKpp bbbb kkkk kkkk kkkk kkkk
Slovenia19SIpp bbbb bkkk kkkk kKK
Spain24ESpp bbbb ssss PPkk kkkk kkkk
Czech Republic24CZpp bbbb kkkk kkkk kkkk kkkk
Hungary28HUpp bbbb bbbk kkkk kkkk kkkk kkkk
United Kingdom22GBpp bbbb ssss sskk kkkk kk
Cyprus28CYpp bbbs sssss kkkk kkkk kkkk kkkk

How to read the table:

DE, AT, CH = 2-digit country code, country code
pp = 2-digit check digit
b = bank clearing number (BIC)
k = account number
s = Branch Code, number of the branch
K = control character (capital letter or number)
X = other function

IBAN calculator

You can find your IBAN on the money card and on account statements, in online banking often under the item "Account information". Alternatively, you can use calculators. Various sites offer this service - for example the Sparkasse. There you then enter your bank code and account number and the computer will determine the IBAN for you.

Tips for memorizing the IBAN

Mathematician Albrecht Beutelspacher has a few tips for those who do not use a computer as an aid and prefer to memorize the series of numbers themselves. "A very well-known method is to assign an object to each digit. For example: One is a tree, two is a garbage can, three is a person. And then you think up a story for it," explains Beutelspacher.

It might go like this: There is a person who walks past a garbage can and then sees a tree. Then you have to memorize the story and derive the numbers from it.

Otherwise, the general principle applies: "The more stupid the Eselsbrücke is, the easier it is to remember it," says Beutelspacher. So he kept his former phone number - 4813 - in mind.

"As a first step, I put them in units and said 'forty-eight thirteen'," he recalls. Long rows of numbers can be memorized by dividing them into short, manageable blocks. With "Forty-eight Thirteen", Beutelspacher then thought of the perfume "4711". The donkey bridge was found.

But even if the IBAN that you want to remember does not resemble any known series of numbers, the mathematician knows what to do. "It helps some people to recite the numbers in a certain rhythm, so to underlay them with a kind of melody," says Beutelspacher.

Optical support could also help. With a PIN code, for example, you can remember the pattern that is created when you type it in on the keyboard.

Structure of the BIC code

The BIC (Bank Identifier Code) is required for SEPA transfers worldwide. For transactions within Germany, however, the IBAN is sufficient. Banks are uniquely identified with the BIC. It is awarded by SWIFT, the Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

The BIC consists of eight or eleven digits and is composed as follows:

(XXXX) 1 (XX) 2 (XX) 3 (XXX) 4

  1. 4-digit bank code that the bank can choose itself
  2. 2-digit country code
  3. 2-digit coding of the location
  4. optional 3-digit identification of the branch

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