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IBAN and BIC

An IBAN or International Bank Account Number is your bank account number in a standard, internationally recognised format. Used with your Bank Identifier Code (BIC) they help international payments to be processed automatically, making them faster, safer and cheaper.

How to find your IBAN and BIC

Your IBAN and BIC can be found on your paper bank statement.

An IBAN looks like this GB15MIDL40051512345678. The structure is consistent but the actual length, which can be up to 34 characters, depends on the national standards of the country in which it is issued.

Information that makes up an IBAN


  • Country code identifies the country in which the IBAN was issued and where the IBAN account is held
  • Check number enables a banking institution to complete an integrity check of the IBAN. It will vary from one IBAN to another
  • Bank code identifies the IBAN account holder's bank
  • Sort code and account number identify the account into which funds should be transferred. You will see from your statement that these are the same as your UK bank account details

A BIC identifies the bank branch and looks like this MIDLGB22123.

Information that makes up a BIC

Use IBAN and BIC for the lowest cost

Banks use a system called SWIFT to send messages to each other and the BIC is their unique branch reference. Using both an IBAN and BIC enables automation of a payments, helping to eliminate delays and queries.

You should give your IBAN and BIC to anyone who needs to make payments to you from abroad. Businesses should quote their IBAN and BIC on invoices they issue internationally and look out for IBAN and BIC on invoices received.

How to make payments using an IBAN and a BIC

An IBAN may be supplied to you prefaced by 'IBAN', e.g. IBAN GB15MIDL40051512345678. Quote the IBAN in the beneficiary account number field of your payment instruction but don't include the preface 'IBAN' or use any spaces between the characters, which may have been inserted to make it easier to read.

You should quote the BIC in the beneficiary bank field. Again, it should not include the preface 'BIC' or any spaces between the characters, e.g. MIDLGB22123.

You can check an IBAN quoted to you is configured correctly by visiting the UK Payments website. This check cannot verify the actual existence of the account, however.

When to use IBAN and BIC

Whilst IBANs can be used for worldwide payments, they are used much more commonly across Europe. All cross-border euro Priority Payments within the EU or the European Economic Area must quote the BIC and IBAN of the beneficiary. If you don't provide this information, additional fees may be charged back to us, which we will then debit from your account. What's more, any euro payment without a BIC and IBAN can be returned or rejected and a fee charged.

The EU has introduced regulations to align charges for local and cross-border payments within the region. This means that when receiving cross-border euro-denominated payments for EUR50,000 or less, quoting the correct IBAN and BIC, the beneficiary will not incur charges, over and above those payable locally, from the receiving bank.

The regulation does not apply to payments made to or from Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

International payments with HSBC

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Checking IBANs and BICs

You can check an IBAN quoted to you is configured correctly by visiting the UK Payments website.


 

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