The bank account number and the IBAN are two similar concepts of great importance in the financial world. But what is the difference between IBAN and account number? In this article, we will take a closer look at the characteristics and differences between the two so that you can find out for yourself.
Table of Contents
1. What is a bank account number?
The bank account number, also known as CCC (Bank Account Code), is a set of digits that unequivocally identifies an account in a bank or financial institution, and forms an essential part of the financial system.
It consists of 20 numbers in the following order:
- 4 first digits: identify the bank or entity, this code is provided by the Bank of Spain itself.
- next 4 digits: correspond to the bank branch where you have opened the account or where it has been assigned to you.
- 2 check digits: these are necessary to validate the bank account number, and are important as a control measure.
- 10 digits: these are the actual account number.
In general, the CCC or account number is used for deposits, transfers and other financial transactions.
It is worth mentioning that each country and tax regulation sets different criteria for the account number.
2. What is the IBAN?
The IBAN is the acronym for International Bank Account Number.
As explained above, each country or zone establishes its own rules. In Europe we have the Single Euro Payments Area, better known as SEPA, which groups 34 countries and whose main element is the IBAN code.
The Spanish IBAN is a 24-character alphanumeric code used to uniquely identify a bank account in our country. Other countries have different IBAN codes, ranging from 15 to 32 digits.
The main purpose of the IBAN is to facilitate international transactions by allowing banks to precisely identify source and destination accounts.
2.1 Composition of the IBAN
The 24 characters of the IBAN are divided into:
- Two letters at the beginning to identify the country of the bank account.
- Two numbers that make up the check digit.
The remaining 20 numbers correspond to the account number mentioned at the beginning.
2.2 A complementary term: SWIFT / BIC
When talking about the IBAN, it is essential to mention the SWIFT / BIC.
The BIC (Bank Identifier Code) is a code used to identify banks and financial institutions worldwide. It consists of 8 or 11 alphanumeric characters and is mainly used for international transactions outside the European Union.
- 8-character BIC: includes information on the bank, the country and the locality. In the case of Banco Santander the BIC is BSCHESMM, in Open Bank the BIC corresponds to OPENESMM.
- 11-character BIC: in this case three digits are added to the previous code, but this is optional. If they are not provided (this is usual), it is understood that the account belongs to the bank’s head office.
This code is complementary to the IBAN and serves to increase the speed and security of banking transactions. In addition, it avoids, to some extent, having to cancel card payments constantly.
3. Difference between IBAN and account number
With the above definitions you can get a precise idea of the difference between IBAN and current account.
The main difference is that the account number is only used for transactions within Spain while the IBAN is mandatory for international transactions, within the European framework.
For payments outside the European Union, in addition to the IBAN, you will have to provide the SWIFT/BIC code.
However, it should be noted that nowadays most bank transfers are made using the IBAN, even those within Spain.
4. Where to find the account number and IBAN?
Both the bank account number and the IBAN can be found on bank statements or in the passbook.
However, the most convenient way is to access your bank’s banking application or website to check it.
Each bank has a different way of checking the IBAN. Generally, to find it, just go to the “Accounts” section and then to the “Account details” or similar.
It is important to remember that both the bank account number and the IBAN are sensitive information. To avoid possible fraud or identity theft, do not share these details with strangers or on unsecured websites.
5. The importance of the IBAN in financial and accounting management
Finally, it is important to stress the importance of good financial and accounting management, especially for companies or businesses that make frequent international transfers.
It is necessary to keep an accurate and up-to-date record of all transactions, including the account number and IBAN, in order to keep track of payments and avoid errors or fraud. In this respect, bank reconciliation is of great importance.
In addition, the digitisation of invoices and receipts plays an essential role in the reporting and accounting process within the company. Thanks to Tickelia and its OCR ICR technology, you can achieve this easily, with just a photo of the receipt or invoice from the App. Afterwards, Tickelia manages the entire flow of your company, from approval, control of spending policies and management of advances and travel, to payment and accounting with your ERP.
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