The single uniform payment market for the euro (the Single Euro Payments Area or SEPA) means that current accounts throughout Europe must be accessible in a uniform, simple manner


This is necessary so there will no longer be any differences between domestic and cross-border euro payments in Europe. Therefore, international bank account numbers (IBAN) must be used for euro accounts throughout Europe. Furthermore, a bank identification code (BIC) is needed for the processing of payments between banks:

  • IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. The standard Dutch bank account numbers are supplemented to create an IBAN consisting of 18 digits and letters.
  • BIC stands for Bank Identifier Code. The BIC is an international code used to identify a bank or bank branch. A BIC has 8 or 11 characters.

An IBAN must also be used for domestic payments. The BIC is a code used to reach the right bank or bank branch when processing a transaction; it is consequently only relevant for interbank processing and will be added by the banks.

A Dutch IBAN consists of the current bank account number preceded by the country code NL, a 2-digit control number and the (abbreviated) name of the bank. For example, the Dutch IBAN for bank account number 123456789 is: NL89 BANK 0123 4567 89


IBAN and corporate payments

For corporate users there will be a change in the delivery of bulk payments. It will be based on a European standard, called XML-ISO 20022.

For many businesses the transition to SEPA and IBANs will force them to change their accounting processes. This is not limited to the adjustment of payments. Read more ...

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