What Bank Details Are Needed to Receive Money?

You must always check with the sender what bank details are needed. But you can make things easy in

Updated: June 5, 2024
Julian Blundell-Thompson

Written By

Julian Blundell-Thompson

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You must always check with the sender what bank details are needed. But you can make things easy in advance by learning how money is transferred from one bank to another.

Receiving money electronically from the UK vs abroad: the big difference

For UK citizens, receiving money from abroad always involves more bank details than receiving money from the UK.

As open banking continues to get different UK banks to work closer together, the requirements to receive money from a UK bank account are always the same:

  • Your name (as spelled exactly in your banking details)
  • Your account number
  • Your bank’s sort code

For transfers sent from outside the UK, you will also need to supply some, or all, of the following:

  • Your IBAN International Bank Account Number (IBAN)
  • Your SWIFT code, otherwise known as BIC
  • Your home address
  • Your bank branch’s address

Although some transfers within the Eurozone may need only your IBAN, most transfers from abroad will need your SWIFT code/BIC. Many international transfers will need both your Swift code/BIC and your IBAN — but not if the money is coming from the US or Canada.

And, if the tables are turned, there are plenty of ways you can send money abroad cheaply yourself.

Overview of bank details needed to receive money electronically from the UK and abroad

DetailDescriptionIdentifiesPayment from UK/abroad?When needed?
Your nameExactly as written in your banking detailsYouUK and abroadAlways
Your account number8-digit numberYour accountUK and abroadAlways
Your bank’s sort code6 digit numberYour bank (and branch, if applicable)UK and abroadAlways
Your IBAN8-34 character code: International Bank Account Number (IBAN)Your account for international purposesAbroad onlyUsed in 70+ countries, but not the US or Canada
Your bank’s SWIFT code or BIC8-11 character code:
The SWIFT code is always the same as the BIC
Your bank for international purposesAbroad onlyUsed in 200+ countries
Your home addressFull home address including postcodeWhere you liveAbroad onlySometimes
Address of your bank branchFull bank branch address including postcodeYour bank branchAbroad onlySometimes

Where can I find the right banking details?

Generally, you can find the name you use for banking, your account number and your bank’s sort code on your bank cards, statement or somewhere in your online portal.

To find your IBAN and SWIFT code/BIC, you will generally need to look in your online portal. With many banks, they can be found at the top of the statement for your current account.

If you cannot find your IBAN, you can generate one on the IBAN website. You will need the sort code for your bank as well as your bank account number.

Supplying your name

Sounds simple enough, right? But make sure you use your name exactly as it is spelled in your banking details.

Supplying your account number

Your 8-digit account number identifies your bank account.

Supplying the sort code for your bank

The sort code for your bank identifies your bank — as well as the correct branch of your bank, unless your bank is branchless (like some challenger banks online).

The sort code is shown as 2 pairs of 3 digits. Each pair is often divided by a dash.

For example, here is a TSB sort code: 30-99-74. The first pair of digits indicates that the code relates to the bank TSB. The second and third pair of digits indicate the Winslow, UK branch of the TSB.

You can double-check that you have a working sort code here.

Supplying your IBAN

Like your regular UK account number, your International Bank Account Number (IBAN) identifies your bank account — but on an international basis.

The IBAN can be anywhere from 8 to 34 characters long. For example, here is an IBAN for a UK TSB account: GB94TSBS30997411617960.

  • The first two characters ‘GB’ indicate that this is a UK account.
  • The second two characters ‘94’ are a checksum feature used by the banks.
  • Characters 4-7 show this is a TSB account.
  • The remaining characters list the sort code relating to the account, followed by the account number.

In theory, supplying an IBAN means you do not need to supply your account number and sort code separately — because the IBAN contains this information. But supplying everything reduces the chances of error, as it gives both the sender and the bank a chance to cross-check your details.

Supplying your bank’s SWIFT code/BIC

Some international payments will ask for your bank’s SWIFT code. Others will ask for your BIC.

The SWIFT code for your bank is the same as its BIC. It is an 8-11 character code that identifies your bank.

  • SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)
  • BIC stands for Business Identifier Code (BIC)

SWIFT is the international network used by 11,000+ banks and other financial companies to transfer money across 200+ countries — and BIC is the code that the SWIFT network uses to identify each participant.

If you are asked for your SWIFT code, that is the same as being asked for your BIC.

For example, here is a UK SWIFT code/BIC relating to a TSB account: TSBSGB2AXXX.

What are the main differences between IBAN and SWIFT/BIC?

  • IBAN identifies your bank account, whereas SWIFT/BIC identifies your bank.
  • IBAN is the older system that started in Europe, and is not used in the US or Canada.
  • IBAN codes can be up to 34 characters long, whereas SWIFT codes/BICs are 8-11 characters long.

Do you need to supply addresses?

With over 44,000 banks and credit unions worldwide, there are minor variations in what bank details are needed to receive money electronically. For example, in addition to SWIFT code/BIC and IBAN, you may also be asked to supply the address of your bank branch and/or your own home address.

If the address of your bank branch is not visible on your printed statement or in your online banking portal, you can find it online using your sort code. That’s because sort codes generally identify your bank as well as your particular branch of the bank. You can use an online sort code checker.

Bank Branch Information - Example
What Bank Details Are Needed to Receive Money? 1

Will you get charged for receiving money?

A 3-5% charge generally applies to SWIFT transfers. The sender chooses who pays the charge. If the recipient gets charged, the charge will be deducted from the money being sent.

What details do you need to receive money that is sent non-electronically?

If you are receiving a cheque, you always need to provide the sender of your money with your name as it is spelled in your banking details. If you also supply the name of your bank, your sort code and account number, the sender can then pay the cheque straight into your account at a branch of your bank. Or you can supply your postal address, and they can send the cheque to you directly.

If you are receiving money as cash, you can supply the name of your bank, sort code and account number and the sender can then pay the cash straight into your account at a branch of your bank.

Verdict: what bank details are needed to receive money

The good news about receiving money is that you can always rely on the sender to tell you what bank details you need to supply. You do not need to guess. This is because the sender’s bank will refuse to send the money without the right details being supplied.

Your responsibility is to make sure you get the numbers right — so always copy and paste when possible, rather than entering codes by hand.

If you do not have a regular UK bank account, you can still receive money electronically using a money service like PayPal or Western Union. Or you can learn what you need to open a bank account in the UK.

Related Guides:

FAQs

Is it safe to use email to send my bank details to the payer?

What bank details should I never send by email?

What are safer ways to send my bank details?

What happens if I do not receive my money?

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