I have a UK bank account, and the IBAN number follows this example format as expected:

GB45 LOYD 6016 1331 9268 19

When I log onto the Spanish utility company Iberdrola, I select the UK from the dropdown box as I want to change my SEPA to another bank based in the UK. However, it is not allowing me to input the LOYD letters, and it expects the ending to be four numbers not two as shown in the format above. As an experiment I tried all of the other countries on the list, and the same formatting problem occurs.

Iberdrola is a massive multinational utility company, so I doubt they could have this glitch on their website for over thirteen years. This leads me to believe that perhaps IBAN is not the same as SEPA.

Question: How can I convert my Starling bank Euro account IBAN into a SEPA complaint format? Otherwise, how can I convert the bank code LOYD into a number?

Irrespective, all UK banks whether they store pounds or Euros seem to have four letters, such as LOYD, which is not allowed as it does not follow the SEPA format.

The example above uses LOYD, but Starling's bank code is SRLG, it was just an example to help explain the question.

  • 2
    Spain's account numbers are 20 digits long (+ES and two digits to get the IBAN so it is perfectly possible that the issue is that Iberdrola is is validating an Spanish account number). It would match the requisite of having a number of symbols that is a multiple of 4.
    – SJuan76
    Dec 20, 2020 at 1:13
  • 4
    There is no ill intent, the person programming the IBAN validation on that website just didn't expect alphabetic characters other than the country code, even though such characters are perfectly valid. The IBAN format depends on country. UK and Romania are some that use letters, most countries don't. You will need to contact the company's support to update your account.
    – amon
    Dec 20, 2020 at 8:24
  • 1
    @amon I wonder why such an incompetent programmer gets tasked with such an important job.
    – glglgl
    Dec 20, 2020 at 18:04
  • 1
    @SJuan76 In the drop down box it allows you to select a country, but they all expect the Spanish format which is stupid. 13 years and they cannot fix such a simple bug. Dec 23, 2020 at 14:55
  • 1
    IBAN discrimination is illegal in the EU. If your utility company is not accepting foreign IBANs, they are in breach of the law, and you can report them.
    – TRiG
    Jul 6, 2022 at 11:47

1 Answer 1


This leads me to believe that perhaps IBAN is not the same as SEPA.

IBAN And SEPA are indeed not the same - but not in the way you think. They indicate TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS. IBAN is an internationally standardized account number, and SEPA a payment system actually insisting on the use of IBAN.

And it is not that unusual for a company to have a glitch as you indicate - been here, same thing. Some companies rely on (bad) libraries and if you are a rare enough case, those never get fixed. Crappy as it is.

And your IBAN is invalid. PERIOD. Check https://www.ibancalculator.com/iban_validieren.html - it will show you that the bank coode 601613 is not valid.

Use an IBAN calculator to calculate a valid IBAN based on the UK account number parts. Alternatively print that page and then go to your bank and tell them to provide you with a valid IBAN.

  • 3
    I suspect the actual numbers are made up. My Lloyds account shows me a valid IBAN when I login to online banking. It's just GB07LOYD<6-digit-sortcode><8-digit-accountnumber>. Dec 20, 2020 at 0:12
  • A great answer that helps unravel some of these endlessly infuriating problems :/
    – Fattie
    Dec 20, 2020 at 12:42
  • @TomTom the numbers were just a pretend example. The problem is the Spanish Iberdrola website, it has had this glitch for over 13 years. Dec 23, 2020 at 14:54
  • 1
    Oh damn, now THAT is a record time. Seems like someone downloaded some libraries and never updated them.
    – TomTom
    Dec 23, 2020 at 15:50

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