I friend of mine, A, needs to send another friend of mine, B, some money in GBP. I asked B for the bank account details, and, having lived in Germany and now the Netherlands, expected to receive an IBAN string, or, at the very most, two numbers (bank code and account number). Instead, B sent me his name, bank name, address of the bank, bank code and account number. This reminds me of the times when I was transferring money from the USSR to the US.

Is this really necessary?

Within a couple of minutes I was able to calculate an IBAN with an online tool, and of course it only needed the bank code and the account number, just like here. Can I send the resulting IBAN to A and hope he'll manage to transfer the money without additional problems?

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    Any particular reason why you can't just ask again for the BIC and IBAN specifically? If they are your friend, I don't see that being much of a problem. – user Aug 16 '16 at 8:51
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    @MichaelKjörling If friend B is British, they will have no idea what their BIC or IBAN are, and will have some difficulty in finding them. They're not used within the UK at all. – Mike Scott Aug 16 '16 at 14:01
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    @MikeScott IBAN and BIC aren't used in Sweden either, but my bank has them readily available within their online banking solution and (I'm quite certain) print them on the mailed paper account statements. – user Aug 16 '16 at 14:03
  • @MichaelKjörling Not in the UK, where you would probably have to phone your bank and wait to be transferred to the international banking department. – Mike Scott Aug 16 '16 at 14:05
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    @MikeScott, as mentioned in the question, I've been able to calculate the IBAN based on the information provided by B, without calling his bank. Bank code and account number were all I needed. – texnic Aug 16 '16 at 20:45

I ended up just trying. I gave A the IBAN of B's account, which I calculated online based on the bank code and account number (because B claimed IBAN won't work, so didn't give it to me), and B's name. A was able to transfer the money apparently without extra difficulties, and it appeared on B's account on the same day.

Contrary to some other posts here, IBAN has nothing to do with the Euro zone, nor is it a European system. It started in Europe, but it has been adopted as an ISO standard (link). As usual of course some countries don't see the urgency to follow an international standard :) XE.com has a list of all IBAN countries; quite a few are non-European.

Here is even the list formatted specially for the European-or-not discussion: link.


If the transfer is from a country in Euro region, then yes, using Does, it's possible.

However if it's outside then all other details are required.

IBAN is used by EURO countries and is supposed to simplify things. However till its fully adopted by all countries and clearing networks, there is quite a bit of confusion and complexity for individuals.

Low Value Transfer in Euro region in EUR currency is on SEPA network that only understands IBAN and only supports EUR currency.

If you are transfering within UK [both banks in UK] in GBP, it would go on BACS network that only understands SortCode+AccountNumber. There are some Banks that give you interface that take an IBAN and convert to SortCode+AccountNumber and submit to BACS.

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    Do I understand you correctly that I can transfer the money from the Netherlands to the UK using IBAN only, but inside the UK (the non-Euro country) IBAN is not sufficient? This sounds counter-intuitive. Could you provide some reference please? – texnic Aug 15 '16 at 8:05

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