The NBU transfers the accounts of bank customers to the IBAN standard: what does this mean?

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) will introduce the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) in 2019. Long story short, this means that this year the accounts of customers of all Ukrainian banks will change the format. Now they, in addition to the account number, will contain the country code and the bank code — information about these changes you can find on the website of the regulator. 

What is IBAN? 

IBAN is a standard bank account system in the EU. Each country independently establishes the structure of the IBAN account number, according to ISO 13616. For Ukraine, IBAN will consist of 29 alphanumeric characters: the first ten characters are the country code, the control number and the bank code, the last 19 are the bank account number of the customer.

By the first two letters, it will be possible to recognize the participating country – Ukraine (UA) immediately, and with the help of the check digit – to provide a unique check of the client’s account for correctness.

Banks will be able to open new IBAN accounts for customers from April 1, 2019, and existing accounts to change them by this standard from April 1 to October 31, 2019. Thus, the valid account numbers for customers will be supplemented with the country code and the bank code. From April 1 to October 31, customers will be able to indicate in their account details both a valid account number and a bank code, as well as a number in the IBAN standard.

The use of IBAN will become mandatory for all bank customers to transfer funds both in local currency and in foreign currency, including for international transfers. All transfers will be made using IBAN only.

What will change with the introduction of IBAN? 

This, according to NBU experts, gives bank customers the opportunity to:

  • identify the payer and the recipient of money, the bank that serves them;
  • avoid errors in account details;
  • transfer money faster and receive funds;
  • in the future, the use of IBAN will also provide an opportunity to apply QR-codes with information about it, which will simplify the payment of bills and exchange of payment information.

The NBU notes that in general the use of IBAN will reduce the bank details and due to this it will become easier to issue settlement documents.