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Financial Dictionary - Account number

Account number

The account number is the standardised code that allows us to identify it, easily access certain data (the country and the bank it comes from, the branch, the office from where it was opened, etc.). It's like a car number plate.

Before 2014, this account code was equivalent to the customer account code and had 20 digits. In 2014, globalisation and the extension of financial transactions beyond our country required cross-border payments to be made in an agile and secure manner. For this reason, the customer account code was replaced by the IBAN (International Bank Account Code), which is used to unify all transactions, issue and receive transfers in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

Its structure was also changed and now consist of 24 digits separated into groups, each one having a function: the first 20 correspond to the old customer account code, preceded by two check digits and another two digits for the country code. In other words, Country code (2 digits); IBAN check digit (2 digits); bank code (4 digits); branch code (4 digits); check digits (2 digits) and account number (10 digits).

Bank check number

The check numbers help the issuing bank to verify that the transfer has reached the destination account. It is very useful to detect errors when too many or too few digits have been added.

There are two types of bank checks: first, the IBAN check digits, placed between the country code and the bank code. This was a new feature introduced by the IBAN. And, on the other hand, the check digits, which already included the old customer account code and are still in the same place: between the branch digits and the bank account number.

The first step to set up a direct debit

This is the first thing that needs to be checked when setting up a direct debit for collections or payments (electricity, gas, telephone). This can be done using a bank statement or by accessing the online account. Make sure that it consists of 24 digits beginning with ES, which is the code that corresponds to our country.

Is it a problem that the account number does not start with ES?

Sometimes, when opening a digital account, the code may not begin with ES, but with the code of some other country in the SEPA zone. In principle, this should not be a problem, since SEPA guarantees that any account number in the community payment area can make transfers and payments in the same way, regardless of where its IBAN is from.


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