An IBAN number is a format for bank account numbers that is commonly used to send money internationally. Some countries, including the United States, do not use the IBAN system, but if you have an account in a country that does or need to send money to someone in such a country you can generally find the IBAN number in the account's bank statement or access it through online banking. The numbers are distinct from SWIFT codes, which identify banks, and the routing and account numbers used in the United States.
Understanding IBAN Numbers
IBAN stands for international bank account number, and it's a system of specifying bank account numbers so that they can be understood between banks in different countries. It's commonly used when wiring money internationally.
The United States and Canada don't use the IBAN system, so if you have an account at a United States bank like Wells Fargo, you generally can't get a Wells Fargo IBAN number for your own account. On the other hand, if you are sending money to a country that does use the IBAN system, you can give Wells Fargo an IBAN for an international wire transfer to indicate where the money should go.
Work with your bank if you need to send or receive a wire transfer and are unfamiliar with the process to make sure you have the right information. Also determine if the bank receiving the money would put a hold on bank account funds received by wire transfer to make sure you understand when funds will be available to spend.
Finding IBAN and SWIFT Numbers
If you have a bank account in a country that uses IBAN numbers, check your bank statement or your online banking portal to see if that number is given. Generally, both of these will include your account number, which may be an IBAN. If you're not sure whether the account number you see is an IBAN, check with your bank to confirm you have the right number. If you're sending money to someone, ask for the appropriate IBAN number.
In addition to an IBAN number, you may need what's called a SWIFT code or bank identifier code (BIC) to send someone a wire transfer. SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, and it is an international organization that facilitates funds transfers and data exchanges between banks around the world. The SWIFT code identifies a particular bank, and it can usually be found in a paper or online statement or obtained from the bank in question.
US Routing and Account Numbers
The United States has its own system of routing and account numbers that are normally used to send money domestically. This is separate from the SWIFT and IBAN system used in other countries, and the two sets of numbers are not compatible. These numbers are commonly used for online bill payments, direct deposit of paychecks and transfers of funds between accounts you may have at different banks.
Most United States bank accounts have a routing number, which identifies the bank or bank branch, and an account number, which identifies an account within a bank. It is possible for accounts at different banks to have the same account number, although they will have distinct routing numbers. Some banks have multiple routing numbers, often corresponding to different divisions of the bank.
You can normally find routing and account numbers through online banking, on bank statements and on paper checks. If you're not sure you have the right numbers, contact your bank for help.
Avoid disclosing your account number to anyone you don't trust, since it can be used to fraudulently debit money from your account.