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New European Bank codes - invoicing an US client
Thread poster: Ruben Berrozpe
Ruben Berrozpe  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
Aug 26, 2003

Hello, I got a question about billing, very simple one:

As you already know, there's been recently a modification of the bank account codes in the EU - basically a new IBAN code and a BIC code, this latest being (as far as I know) the same as the old SWIFT code.
Now I have to invoice an US client for the first time since then, the client talks about a bank transfer and I wonder if I should use the new IBAN or the old 20-digit code. Maybe the new one will be confusing for them?

I suppose many of you have already dealt with this. I know it's a small, maybe unimportant question but I hope it will be easy to answer too....

TIA!

Rb


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:39
English to German
+ ...
Use the IBAN Aug 26, 2003

Hi Ruben,
As you already know, there's been recently a modification of the bank account codes in the EU - basically a new IBAN code and a BIC code, this latest being (as far as I know) the same as the old SWIFT code.

The two are indeed the same - "BIC" is short for "Bank Identifier Code", and has been used by SWIFT for quite some time.

Now I have to invoice an US client for the first time since then, the client talks about a bank transfer and I wonder if I should use the new IBAN or the old 20-digit code. Maybe the new one will be confusing for them?

If your existing account details already have 20 characters, the IBAN shouldn't be a problem - therefore, I would use the IBAN. Although it probably won't make a difference in terms of fees, the incoming credit might be a touch faster (depending on your bank, of course...).

Best regards, Ralf


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:39
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Look at your checkbook Aug 26, 2003

Hi Rubén,

New euro checkbooks issued starting 2003 in Spain include IBAN.

If this is not the case with your bank (my manager said this was a law, but who can tell about interpretations), ask your bank or call its telephone banking service.



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Ruben Berrozpe  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Aug 26, 2003

Thank you Ralf, Cecilia

I wondered you maybe had specific experiences about it ("I use IBAN, I don't use it, my clients do not understand what it is,...") Anyway your comments were very helpful.

Well good evening and thank you!

Rb


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:39
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
IBAN is very specific Aug 26, 2003

Ruben Berrozpe wrote:

Thank you Ralf, Cecilia

I wondered you maybe had specific experiences about it ("I use IBAN, I don't use it, my clients do not understand what it is,...") Anyway your comments were very helpful.

Well good evening and thank you!

Rb



And in general, EU countries have preferred it since transfer rates went down (still a minimum 6 eu., but not as bad as interbank transfers before). My EU clients generally want BIC and IBAN either on the invoice or on a CV that eventually gets into their database. However, US clients prefer to pay in cheque or have the BIC/SWIFT.

The European Central Bank has made the IBAN practically obligatory. (I don't know if this has to do with the EC ruling on bank transactions of more/less than € 3,000, but theoretically that system then becomes easier to control).


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DGK T-I  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:39
Member (2003)
Georgian to English
+ ...
My US experience Aug 27, 2003

has tended to be that US clients have wanted/used the BIC/Swift + account & branch number + full address & country of Bank + account holder name, but it seems a good idea to me, to include everything (clearly labelled) on all invoices, and let the client pick & mix which they wish to use (as long as EU clients use the BIC/Swift & IBAN).

Best wishes
Giuli


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Ruben Berrozpe  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again Aug 27, 2003

Thanks doc.,
Well why not, I guess the best thing is to provide everything so that no client ever finds something "missing". Let us do so, cross our fingers.

Thank you again!
Rb


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:39
English to German
+ ...
Emphasize the importance of IBAN & BIC Aug 27, 2003

Ruben,
I know this isn't 100% relevant to your question concerning US customers, but...

Well why not, I guess the best thing is to provide everything so that no client ever finds something "missing".


Where cross-border payments within the EU are concerned, it's vital that customers use IBAN & BIC - higher fees might be incurred otherwise. Once again, not relevant to payments from the US.

Best, Ralf


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DGK T-I  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:39
Member (2003)
Georgian to English
+ ...
Very true - perhaps a good place (in an invoice within the EU)to emphasize this would be in........ Aug 27, 2003

...a separate section of the invoice "payment method: by bank transfer to the payee, using IBAN and BIC/Swift codes provided, charges to be payed by [whatever agreed before the job was undertaken]"

Ralf Lemster wrote:

Ruben,
I know this isn't 100% relevant to your question concerning US customers, but...

Well why not, I guess the best thing is to provide everything so that no client ever finds something "missing".


Where cross-border payments within the EU are concerned, it's vital that customers use IBAN & BIC - higher fees might be incurred otherwise. Once again, not relevant to payments from the US.

Best, Ralf


EU clients seem to vary, from some being happy with just the Swift/BIC and IBAN, to some wanting these plus exhaustive details of the account - can save messages to & fro....

[Edited at 2003-08-27 18:26]


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