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What is an IBAN and why do you need one?

August 19, 2022

If you’re one of them, then you’ll likely have had to use an IBAN or BIC before (even if you were not aware that’s what they were called).

An IBAN, or international bank account number, is a unique identifier for your bank account used when transferring money. If you’re traveling, moving, or sending money to someone, you will need to provide your recipient with your IBAN.

To find out how to locate your IBAN and what else you need to know about it, keep reading!

IBAN vs. BIC Code: what’s the difference?

Let’s start off with the basics. You may have seen both IBAN and BIC codes on bank statements and wondered what the difference is. 

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number, while BIC is short for Bank Identification Code. IBANs are used to identify specific bank accounts, while BIC codes are used to identify banks themselves. 

Likewise, this is why IBANs are typically longer and more complicated than BIC codes, as they can be used to make international payments. In Europe, you’ll need an IBAN to make a domestic transfer as well. 

Sending money between accounts at the same bank? Then you’ll not need the BIC as the bank will already have that information and be able to process the transaction easily.

Why do you need an IBAN?

If you’re making or receiving payments, you’ll need an IBAN. 

An IBAN consists of up to 34 characters, including letters and numbers. The first two characters usually identify the country code, and the remaining characters are used to identify the individual bank account. 

For example, a Dutch IBAN might look something like this: NL12 3456 7890 1234 5678 9012.

If you’re not sure what your IBAN is, you can usually find it on your bank statement or by logging into your online banking account. If you’re sending a payment to someone else, they should be able to provide you with their IBAN.

What does each country’s IBAN allow you to do?

While the IBAN standardizes international payments, it also allows for some flexibility in terms of what each country’s system can do. 

For example, in some countries, IBANs can be used for direct deposits and automatic payments, while in others they can only be used for manual transactions. 

In any case, understanding the capabilities of your country’s IBAN system is essential for making the most of this important tool.

Are some IBANS better than others?

In terms of functionality, all IBANs serve the same purpose. However, some banks may offer additional features or benefits for accounts with certain types of IBANs. 

For example, some banks may offer special interest rates or fee waivers for account holders with IBANs from certain countries. As a result, it’s important to compare different banks and see what type of IBAN they require before opening an account.

Where to find your IBAN

Now that you know all about IBANs and what they’re for, how do you find your IBAN? If you have a traditional bank, you can usually find it on your bank statement or online banking account. 

If you don't have access to online banking, you can also call your bank and ask them to give you your IBAN. When providing your IBAN, be sure to use all capital letters and include any spaces or special characters that are shown on your statement. 

Your IBAN is specific to your individual bank account, so be sure to double-check that you’re using the correct one before you send any money.

What about finding your bunq IBAN? This depends on the type of account you have with bunq. Let’s explore some of your options.

The benefits of getting a local IBAN

As you can see, having an IBAN is essential for transferring money back and forth between accounts, or even getting paid. If you’re a digital nomad, international student, or freelancer, having a local IBAN can make life a whole lot easier.

With bunq, we offer this feature if you have an Easy Money or Easy Green plan. With either plan, you’re able to easily get a Spanish, French, Ireland, Dutch, or German IBAN. This allows you to bank like a local across a large part of Europe.

Not only that, but you can save and spend in 15 different currencies. This is a great option for digital nomads who travel quite a bit within the EU.

How to get an IBAN with bunq

Interested in getting a local IBAN with bunq? We’ve made it as simple as possible for you! To get started, you’ll need to download the app and create an account (it’s free for 30 days). Once you’ve done that, go to the “Home” tab within the app.

You’ll see the “... (More)” tab. Click on that. Then, click on “Add a Sub-Account.” Depending on the country you need an IBAN for, select the local IBAN options and click “Get a Local IBAN.” 

Now you’re ready to choose your new IBAN! If you’re looking for a German, French, Spanish, Irish, or Dutch account then be sure to select Euro if it gives you the option.

You’ll then be prompted to select your new IBAN and verify your identity to complete the process. That’s all there’s to it!

Get started with bunq

Whether you need an IBAN to make a local payment as a digital nomad or are simply interested in getting a BIC or IBAN number for regular banking purposes - you’re in the right place.

Break free from traditional banking and discover the freedom that comes with managing your finances with bunq. Click here to get started.

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