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IBAN's and routing codes

The International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is an international standard for identifying bank accounts across national borders. It was originally adopted by the European Committee for Banking Standards, and was later adopted as an international standard. There is enough information in an IBAN to identify the bank and account number.

For example for Great Britain an IBAN would look like GBkk BBBB SSSS SSCC CCCC CC where:

  1. GB identifies the country
  2. B = alphabetical bank code,
  3. S = sort code (often a specific branch),
  4. C = account No.

So the IBAN of GB29 NWBK 6016 1331 9268 19 indicates:

  1. Sort Code of 601613
  2. Account Code of 31926819

In this instance the Sort Code is also a routing number.

A routing code is more a United States and Canada term but it is possible to do European payments with a routing code and account number combination. Other words for routing code could be Transit Number, ABA, Fedwire Number, and Sort Code.

So what to use?

If you have an IBAN use this. If you only have a routing code and account number it is possible to use this and still have the payment settle successfully (but generally only to the United States and Canada).


The information contained in this publication is provided for learning purposes only and is subject to change. Revisions may be issued from time to time that encompass changes or additions to this module.

This is a guide only and it is not comprehensive. It does not impinge on or overrule any formal arrangement you may enter into with the Bank. The Bank and its officers shall not have any liability for any losses of any kind incurred in connection with any action, inaction or decision taken in reliance on the information herein or for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. In this publication references to the "Bank" are to Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 and to any of its operating Divisions, including BankSA and St.George.