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IBAN, Swift and BIC numbers - help please
Thread poster: Daniel Bird

Daniel Bird  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:24
German to English
Jul 16, 2005

Good afternoon all,
I recently sent an invoice to a German client who I am quite sure has every intention of paying me - no problem there. Although I supplied an IBAN number for my UK bank account for the transfer, the agent came back to me asking for a BIC number. My bank, Abbey, tells me that the BIC number is the first 8 characters of the IBAN, and is also known as a Swift number.
I don't want the payment to go astray; if I re-issue the invoice giving separate IBAN and BIC codes, or part of the IBAN without the first eight characters, I can foresee an almighty mess. Does anyone out there have an experience I can draw on please, and what was it?
Thanks very much.
Dan
(England to win the Ashes)


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:24
English to German
+ ...
IBAN & BIC always required Jul 16, 2005

Hi Dan,

Although I supplied an IBAN number for my UK bank account for the transfer, the agent came back to me asking for a BIC number.

Not surprising. According to my experience, the IBAN is never sufficient on its own; the SWIFT/BIC (BIC = Bank Identifier Code) is always required alongside.

My bank, Abbey, tells me that the BIC number is the first 8 characters of the IBAN, and is also known as a Swift number.

Did you ask someone at your local branch, or at Abbey's international payments department? Branch staff are still often completely oblivious of the standards and procedures involved in standard euro cross-border payments.

Actually, the only correct statement made is the fact that "BIC" and "SWIFT code" are two terms for the same concept (calling it a "SWIFT number" is wrong, though, as BICs are alphanumeric).

The top-level BIC for Abbey National plc is ABBCGB2L (taken from the SWIFT Online Directory); in contrast, as you'll be able to tell, your IBAN starts with "GB", followed by a two-digit check number.

I don't want the payment to go astray; if I re-issue the invoice giving separate IBAN and BIC codes, or part of the IBAN without the first eight characters, I can foresee an almighty mess.

Correct. Ask your local branch to get you in contact with their international payments experts.

Search this forum for "IBAN BIC", and you'll find plenty of information.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:24
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Mine are in this format Jul 16, 2005

The bank is Barclays.

BIC: BARCGB** aaaaaa bbbbbbbb
IBAN:GB@@BARC aaaaaabbbbbbbb

The numbers represented by * and @ are not the same.

The numbers represented by a are the sort code and those represented by b are the account number.

I don't know about Swift, I should think your bank must be right about that.

This information has always satisfied those requiring it.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:24
English to German
+ ...
Slight correction, if I may... Jul 16, 2005

Hi Jack,
I used to have a business account with Barclays, so I know their codes...

BIC: BARCGB** aaaaaa bbbbbbbb

The BIC is an eight-character code, followed by an optional three-character branch code (e.g. BARCGB21 06A for Barclays' Hammersmith branch). Note that the three-character extension is generally not used for bank-to-bank messages. The BIC never includes the sort code or account number.

IBAN:GB@@BARC aaaaaabbbbbbbb

The numbers represented by * and @ are not the same.

Correct: the two @@ digits are a check number.

I don't know about Swift, I should think your bank must be right about that.

Now that is a dangerous assumption... I had to explain the concept of IBAN & BIC to my corporate account officer...

Cheers, Ralf


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Pat Jenner
Local time: 05:24
German to English
+ ...
Try checking your bank statement Jul 16, 2005

This probably varies from bank to bank, but my statements show the IBAN and BIC numbers underneath the account number.

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Daniel Bird  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:24
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Simple really... Jul 16, 2005

Thanks everyone
I have now double-checked with Abbey and SWIFT-BIC Online. Once the invoice is re-issued, the 30-day period will tell.
On the face of it, the system is pretty simple, so it's only a matter of everyone reading their lines right. Here's hoping we're all word perfect in future.
Have a nice weekend
Dan


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Dr. Janos Annus  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 06:24
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
BIC and IBAN Jul 17, 2005

Hi everyone,

In principle, as my bank's website explained when they suggested I should let them generate my IBAN, the IBAN contains all information needed for bank transfer within the EU. In my case for my EUR account the IBAN is HU61117 (plus 21 numbers representing my own account number), for my USD account HU16117 (plus 21 numbers), from this is clear that it should go to Hungary, and 117 is my bank's code. But the bank still suggest to add the S.W.I.F.T. code or BIC, which makes international transfer (within and outside Europe) faster and (they claim), cheaper... well never happened they made it cheaper. So better to use both.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 07:24
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Sometimes its good to provide also bank address Jul 18, 2005

There are banks with outdated or wrongly programmed online software, that require also some information about the bank's address in addition to IBAN and BIC. So with new customers it is advisable to write something (two lines of text) representing the bank's address.
Actually it doesn't matter what the text is, just to make the software content.
Regards
Heinrich


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GregSmith
Local time: 06:24
French to English
+ ...
Invoice info Jul 3, 2008

My company requires, on supplier's invoices:

Supplier name / Company name
Supplier address

Date of issue

Client name
Client address

Date of services
Client reference/PO number for services
[optional supplier reference for services]
Nature of work
Price
VAT [if applicable, for intra-national or ex-EU] / OR: Non-VAT legal citation [EU suppliers]
rate + amount

Bank account holder
Bank account number
Bank agency address (full)
Bank IBAN code
Bank SWIFT/BIC code

[Optional date payable]



And the invoice should be printed to PDF format, otherwise it is considered to be subject to possible falsification. Without all of these, the invoice is likely to be returned by the accounts office anytime up to the moment it is supposed to be paid! Client Terms & Conditions associated with the PO put the onus on the supplier to give all this info. This is due to the strict rules in France enforceable by the "Commissaire aux Comptes". Generally though, (although the info available may vary on other continents) you only need to fill it all out once, so unless a client wants the colour of your eyes too, there should be no more delays.


K

[Edited at 2008-07-03 17:29]

[Edited at 2008-07-03 18:03]


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