What information do the numbers of your bank account hide?


Have you ever wondered about the meaning of the numbers that identify your bank account? Are they just random numbers or do they stand for something? We’ll try shedding some light on the issue…

First of all, you should know that your bank account is customised with its own number or code. This number is called IBAN since 1 February 2014, which stands for International Bank Account Number. An IBAN in Spain consists of 24 digits; two letters followed by 22 numbers, as in the following example:


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  • The first two letters stand for the country, in this case España (ES) (Spain), followed by two Check-digits, which validate the whole IBAN.
  • The first four digits, which are given by Banco de España, identify the credit institution.
  • The next group of four digits identify the credit institution’s branch office.
  • The following two are, again, check-digits.
  • And finally, the account number itself.

The check-digits allow to detect those cases where any of the other digits have either been omitted, duplicated or written by mistake.

The IBAN code is used internationally and may vary depending on the country, but can never contain more than 34 alphanumerical characters. For example, France has 27 digits, while Germany has 22. To make reading easier, they are usually written in groups of four.

Just out of curiosity, the first number of the credit institution’s code informs about the type of credit institution:

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