The IBAN code is a unique, one-time code that each bank account in the world has. It is used to identify accounts internationally, as long as the country where the account is located is part of SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area), made up of 36 countries (the 27 EU members, in addition to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, Andorra, the United Kingdom and Vatican City). Created as an initiative of the European Committee for Banking Standards (ECBS), the IBAN code is intended to facilitate the automatic processing of international payments by ensuring that each transaction is fast and secure, regardless of the countries in which the parties involved reside.
The IBAN code appeared in Spain in 2014, when the SEPA zone was launched. It consists of 24 characters:
- The first two identify the home country of the account (in the case of Spain, ES).
- The next two are the control digits, which prevent errors when making a transfer between banks.
- Closing out the IBAN code is the so-called 'Customer Account Code,' with 20 characters. This code, in turn, consists of 4 digits, identifying the bank, 4 more specifying the branch, 2 new control digits and, finally, 10 digits for the account number.