Here are the five things you need to know before making your international payment.
Name of the payee
The person or business that you are sending the funds to.
Payee’s bank account number or IBAN (international bank account number)
Just as if you were transferring funds to another bank account here in the UK, you’ll need the account number of whoever it is you are paying. A preferred way is to use the international bank account number (IBAN) of the payee – this is considered a more accurate way of identifying the account to be paid. This is in a standardised format composed of up to 34 characters. For example, the IBAN for a bank account held in the UK would be:
GB29 NWBK 6016 1331 9268 19
Where GB is the ISO country code
29 are the check digits
NWBK is the bank identifier
601613 is the branch identifier (normally the sort code)
…and 31926819 is the account number
Other common ISO country codes are PK 36 for Pakistan, PL 61 for Poland or IE 29 for Ireland (Eire). Some countries do not participate in this system, for example the US and India.
BIC (SWIFT code)
SWIFT codes are the standard format of business identifier codes (BIC). These are standardised, unique codes used to identify both financial and non-financial institutions. They are comprised of eight to 11 characters and identify a specific bank. These are used as a way to check that the money is being sent to the right place.
National clearing code
The national clearing code (NCC) is used in place of the IBAN. You need one or the other, not both. These are also sometimes called a routing code. As detailed above, not all countries use the IBAN and SWIFT/BIC codes system. These countries instead use the NCC as their preferred method of international bank transfer. Examples include the US, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
Payee’s bank name and address
Remember that you’ll also need the full name and address of the person or business you are paying.