Fabian Demicoli

The use of IBAN and BIC


With increased
globalisation comes the need to translate language and services to be
recognisable across countries and continents. Two such examples, the IBAN and
BIC, deal with the banking sector and facilitate swifter electronic
transactions. An IBAN (International Bank Account Number) is a series of up to
34 alphanumeric characters that was established in order to standardise the
identification of bank accounts worldwide.

Thus the
IBAN allows bank accounts to be recognised from anywhere in the world in order
to allow international payments to and from Europe, including the 34 Single
Euro Payments Area (SEPA) countries. The existing bank account numbers are not
replaced as the IBAN simply adds more characters. Along with the IBAN, the BIC
(Bank Identifier Code) is another important code that is composed of either
8-11 alphanumeric characters. These codes allow customers to effect payments
electronically and therefore problems arise when service providers fail to
display their IBAN and BIC on the invoices they issue.

Article
4(4) of EC Regulation 924/2009 states that:

"Where appropriate, with regard to the nature of the payment
transaction concerned, for all invoicing of goods and services in the
Community, a supplier of goods and services that accepts payments covered by
this Regulation shall communicate its IBAN and the BIC of its payment service
provider to its customers."

This
Regulation has since been amended by Regulation 260/2012, which states that 1
February 2014 was the set deadline in the euro area for compliance with the
Regulation's core provisions. For countries external to the euro area the
deadline will be 31 October 2016. In most SEPA countries, a national website
dedicated to SEPA is available. The Malta Bankers' Association provides useful
information on SEPA at the following link: http://www.maltabankers.org/sepa?l=1.

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