Within the SEPA (Single Euro Payment Area), all euro transfers and direct debits across Europe
are carried out according to the uniform SEPA payment procedures.
Private customers can make SEPA transfers at any time, online, at self-service kiosks and at a branch. To pay with a SEPA direct debit, all you need to do is to provide the payment recipient with a SEPA direct debit mandate.
International payments outside the SEPA zone can be simply and easily made with a classical international transfer (SWIFT payment).
IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number and is the internationally standardised bank account number that is used for national and international SEPA payments.
IBANs have a uniform structure internationally and comprise of a country code, a check digit and a national component, which, in Germany, comprises of the bank sort code and account number. IBAN lengths differ from country to country. They are limited to a maximum of 34 alphanumeric characters and, in Germany, always have 22 digits.
The BIC (Bank Identifier Code) is an international code that clearly identifies banks worldwide. The BIC is often also called SWIFT Code and used as a second identifier in addition to the IBAN when making SEPA payments. The BIC comprises of eight or eleven alphanumeric characters.
When transferring money within Germany or Europe, you will need to provide the payment recipient's IBAN. Providing the BIC is optional. Exception: The BIC still needs to be provided for payments made to Switzerland, Monaco and San Marino.
Your IBAN and BIC are stated on your statements, your online banking account and on the back of your Sparkassen-Card.