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IBAN

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. It's a way of identifying a bank account which cuts down errors and delays in international payments.

You need to use an IBAN when you make a cross border payment in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

When you use an IBAN, you must also use a Bank Identifier Code (BIC).

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Finding your IBAN

An IBAN is NOT a new bank account number. Existing sort codes and account numbers are retained, and additional characters are added to create a standard identifier which is known as an IBAN.

Since July 2003, all financial institutions were required to provide their customers with their IBAN. Your IBAN is shown on the front of your statement or can be obtained from your Ulster Bank branch.

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How an IBAN is identified

An IBAN is not a single account structure to replace the national numbering systems. It is a way of representing national account numbers in an internationally recognised standard format. An IBAN adds a country code and check digits to the front of the domestic account number format.

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BIC (Bank Identifier Code)

To make a cross border payment to an EU Member State, you will need to quote the IBAN of the beneficiary and its associated BIC (Bank Identifier Code). The BIC is an international standard used to uniquely identify a bank. Ulster Bank, Northern Ireland's BIC is ULSBGB2B.

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Example of an IBAN

Country Code Check Digits Bank Code Sort Code Account number
GB 19 USLB 123456 12345678
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Electronic and printed forms of an IBAN

When an IBAN is printed in paper form, for example on an invoice, the IBAN may be split into groups of four characters to make it easier to read. When an IBAN is processed electronically it must not contain blank spaces and must not include the word 'IBAN'.

  • Paper form: IBAN: GB19 ULSB 1234 5612 3456 78
  • Electronic form: GB19ULSB12345612345678
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Examples of other European IBANs

  • Republic of Ireland - IE29ULSB12345612345678
  • France - FR1420041010050500013M02606
  • Germany - DE89370400440532013000
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What should I do if I receive an IBAN on an invoice?

You should quote the IBAN in the account number field on the payment instruction, which you give to your bank. You must also ask your supplier to provide you with their Bank Identifier Code (BIC). This code tells you where to send your money.

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Will I need an IBAN?

You will only need an IBAN if you invoice people in other European Countries. In addition, your suppliers within Europe may ask for your IBAN.

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