Your IBAN, SWIFT code and routing number

IBAN, SWIFT codes and routing numbers help to process your international payments

An IBAN (International Bank Account Number) is an international code that is used to identify overseas banks accounts. Your IBAN has 23 alphanumeric characters and will always start with a two-letter country code. It also contains the bank code and your account number. All UAE IBANs will start with AE.

Example: AE12 3456 7890 1234 5678 900

IBANs are important for international banking because they quickly identify the country and the exact bank account to which money is being transferred. They're also an effective way for banks to verify account details.

Some countries like the US and India don’t yet use IBANs and SWIFT codes, they use an account number and routing number combination instead.

The benefits of using an IBAN

With an IBAN, your inward and outward money transfers are automatic, speedy, error-free and cheaper than they used to be. All inward and outward money transfers in the UAE, as well as salary payments through the Wage Protection System (WPS) now require an IBAN.

Here's why you should always use an IBAN:

  • Payments from abroad are quicker and easier
  • There are no extra charges
  • You can make international payments smoothly
  • It's an automated system with no delays

How a SWIFT code is different to an IBAN

A SWIFT code identifies only the bank, an IBAN on the other hand identifies the bank as well as a specific account at the bank. SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication and is a global network for processing payments between countries.

SWIFT has three elements – a 4-letter bank code, a 2-letter country code (e.g. AE for UAE), location identifier which can be letters or digits, and in some cases three final characters that refer to a specific branch of the bank.

Example: Emirates NBD SWIFT code is EBILAEADXXX

Both IBANs and SWIFT play crucial roles in ensuring the international payment reaches the right bank account.

How does BIC fit into all this?

It’s merely a technicality. BIC or Bank Identifier Code is the same as a SWIFT code. The network is called SWIFT and the codes are known as BIC.

Routing numbers or bank codes

Routing numbers or bank codes are special codes assigned to financial institutions in certain countries to route local and international money transfers. In most cases these act as an alternative to SWIFT codes.

Examples for countries that use these types of codes are FEDWIRE in the US, Sort code in the UK and IFSC in India.

When do we need an IBAN and SWIFT?

IBANs are used worldwide with the exception of a few countries. Payments must have SWIFT and IBAN of the beneficiary when requested the transfer. If this information is missing, it can result in charges and rejected payments.

When receiving money

You should share your IBAN and SWIFT with anyone making a payment to you either locally or from abroad.

When sending money

State the IBAN and SWIFT of the beneficiary when sending money either locally or abroad. Some countries may require specific bank codes or routing numbers as well.

Using these codes ensures the money reaches the right account quickly, cost-effectively and without error.

Where to find your IBAN and SWIFT

You will find your IBAN and SWIFT on your account statement, on your Emirates NBD Online Banking, or on Emirates NBD Mobile Banking under the selected account details.