IBAN is a highly defined system, but each country uses varying IBAN structure. Each IBAN contains different characters, BBAN formats and IBAN fields. Norway has the shortest IBAN structure with only 15 characters; 4 characters are country identifier (NOkk) and 11 other are numeric characters, (four characters for national bank code, six for account numbers and one for modulo-11 check digit).
Malta has the longest IBAN with 31 characters, 4 characters are country identifier (MTkk), 4 are alpha characters, 5 are numeric and 18 are mixed-case, alphanumeric characters. To further complicate things, the IBAN for Malta uses four characters for BIC bank code, five for branch identifier and eighteen for bank account number.
Some IBAN can be long but quite straightforward, for example, the IBAN for Kuwait is consisted of 30 characters with 4 alpha-characters and 22 numeric characters. However, it is made of only 4 characters for country identifier, 4 for national bank code and 22 for account number. On the other hand, a relatively shorter IBAN, such as IBAN for Slovenia can be more complicated. It uses 19 characters, but it is composed of 2 IBAN check digits (56), 2 for national bank code, 1 for branch, 8 for account number and 2 for national check sum.
As we can see, it takes a good deal of work when converting IBAN for Norway to IBAN for MALTA; or IBAN for Kuwait to IBAN for Slovenia. The conversion task requires detailed research on banking systems of other countries and impractical when performed manually. A large financial firm may perform thousands of international money transfers and converting IBAN without electronics means would be inefficient, due to the labor-intensive approach.
There are many IBAN converters in the Internet and you can easily find one on Google. They may have different formats and you should use one that suits your requirements. You may be asked to type a typical IBAN format with 24 digits without spaces or a short 6-digit account number. Next, choose your preferred currency and if you are unable to determine the correct one, the converter should be able to suggest one by default. The new IBAN should appear after you press the “QUERY” or “SUBMIT” button. There could be situations where an account couldn’t be found and you need to contact your bank or financial advisor.
Some converters may require more information, such as bank code, prefix and account number. It is a good idea to choose a converter that displays result in different formats, such as, printed IBAN and electronic IBAN. Both formats are different and using improper format for specific situation could cause problems. Some financial firms offer downloadable IBAN converter applications and this should help you get results without using web browsers. Nevertheless, these tools still require Internet connection, as it’s impossible to store constantly changing banking data into offline software.
Upon obtaining result, it is a good idea to confirm with your financial advisor whether you are using the right IBAN. Despite the highly standardized mechanism, there could be some glitches in the system that can give you inaccurate results.