Tuesday, May 13, 2003

IBAN: I Beg (for) A Number ?

As of July 1, European regulation endorses/encourages the use of the IBAN, the International Bank Account Number, for cross border payments. But reality may be slow in catching up. I've just heard of the case of a worldwide company that makes fotocameras and such, that has a European service network. So the broken camera goes to Belgium, while the money goes to Edinburgh. And the Dutch instructions for the consumer are to pay using a cheque or credit-transfer. The actual instructions are interesting as they suggest that any credit transfer may take up to 4 weeks. Also, the company still uses a bank sort code and mentions neither Bank SWIFT code nor IBAN.

Needless to say that, within 90 days before the EU regulation comes into effect, this company could improve its incoming payments by mentioning its IBAN to the consumer. So in my view, the IBAN could best be viewed as the acronym for I Beg for A Number. Both enterprises and consumers will soon be begging for these IBAN's and I assume we can expect more troubles coming from ill-implemented usage of the IBAN in the near future.

Dutch companies and consumers may discover their IBAN at this site.