An international bank account number (IBAN) is a standardised bank account format that makes it easy for banks in Europe and some areas of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caribbean to make credit transfers and direct debits.
All told, IBANs are standard in more than 70 countries. The main exceptions are the US, Canada and Australia.
While not every country uses the same number of digits, the order of the information is the same. In Germany, an IBAN consists of 22 characters.
Here’s an example of a German IBAN
IBAN: DE89 3704 0044 0532 0130 00
Country Code: DE (Germany)
IBAN Check Digits: 89
Bank Identifier: 37040044
Account Number: 0532013000
Each set of characters represents a different detail related to your bank account. The first two letters identify the country in which the account is based. For Germany, this is DE. The next two digits are check digits, which are there to help make sure the whole IBAN is valid. The way the check digits are calculated is extremely complicated. Luckily, all you need to know is that these digits never change and always need to be included.
After the check digits, you’ll find the BLZ (bank branch identifier) and then the bank account number.
Do you need an IBAN in Germany?
Yes. Since an IBAN is a standardised format for existing information, you will have an IBAN for every bank account you open in Germany. If you’d like someone to send money to your German account, you’ll need to give the sender your IBAN number. You’ll also need an IBAN number to receive payouts on most ecommerce platforms.
Where do I find my IBAN account number?
The easiest way to find your IBAN is via your online banking. Alternatively, you can visit or call your bank or use an online calculator to work it out.
How do I validate my IBAN number?
If you want to double check an IBAN number is correct before transferring money, you can use an online validation tool to check. Many banks offer IBAN validation automatically as part of their online transfer process.
How does an IBAN number work?
When you make or receive a payment using an IBAN, the numbers are verified by the bank. If the IBAN is valid, the payment will arrive at the receiving bank within minutes. Instant transfers are possible, but they may take 1 to 2 days for the funds to be credited to the recipient’s account.
If payment is made to an IBAN that doesn’t exist, it will fail. However, if the incorrect IBAN exists and belongs to someone else, that person will receive the money. If this happens, contact your bank to reverse the transfer as soon as possible. The recipient is not obligated to return the money, but in most cases, they will.
Are IBAN numbers safe?
The IBAN system is accurate and can identify mistakes before the payment completes. There’s no need to keep the number a secret, as all anyone can do with your IBAN is deposit money. By law, German companies must include their IBAN on their invoices and website.
Grow your way with Mollie
At Mollie, our Checkout automatically allows German customers to pay via bank transfer using their IBAN. Offering this popular option improves payment speed and increases conversions. Discover more about how to accept IBAN payments with Mollie.