How to check an IBAN in France

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  1. Introduction
  2. How to check your IBAN
  3. How banks check the IBAN
  4. IBAN verification: The responsibility lies with the issuer
  5. Fraud protection

You need an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) code to complete international bank transactions, including those within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). When a bank account is opened, it is automatically allocated an IBAN, which is a unique alphanumeric identifier. The IBAN is recognised all around the world and enables cash transfers and debits to take place within and outside the SEPA region. To complete a transaction outside France, you need an IBAN. So, once you have entered your IBAN and your recipient’s IBAN, how do you check them? And how can you protect yourself against bank fraud? Find out the answers to these questions in our article.

Learn more about how the IBAN works.

What's in this article?

  • How to check your IBAN
  • How banks check the IBAN
  • IBAN verification: The responsibility lies with the issuer
  • Fraud protection

How to check your IBAN

You’ll find your IBAN number on your bank account statement (RIB). You can find it in the customer area of your bank’s website, on your cheques or by going into a branch of your bank.

In France, make sure the number includes the following components: the country code (FR is used for France), the check digits, the bank identifier, the branch code, the bank account number and the RIB key. A French IBAN should have a total of 27 characters. If you are not sure, you can access an IBAN checker online to confirm the format.

How banks check the IBAN

The check digits that follow the country code play an important part in checking the IBAN once a transaction is in progress. The bank uses these digits to check whether the format of the entered IBAN is valid (a procedure applied to foreign IBAN numbers).

Note that this verification step only looks at the format. It does not check whether the IBAN is correct and does not guarantee that the funds will arrive at the correct destination. This is the same for most online IBAN checkers: they simply confirm that the input IBAN is in the correct format, without checking the bank account linked to it. So, as the issuer of the transfer, it is your responsibility to check the recipient’s IBAN.

IBAN verification: The responsibility lies with the issuer

You can check with the bank or even directly with the recipient to ensure that you have the correct IBAN before going ahead with the transaction. Using the wrong number may result in a failed or delayed transaction, the imposition of charges or fees, or the wrong recipient receiving the funds. If this happens, you need to contact the bank to cancel the transaction.

To avoid any delays, it is a good idea to collect additional information about the IBAN owner: specifically, the name on the bank account and the BIC code, also known as the SWIFT code. The bank may ask you to enter this information, which must also be checked before the transaction is approved.

Note: Make sure you use the IBAN in its digital format. Its printed format includes spaces between the characters, which is not compatible with all banks.

Fraud protection

Unfortunately, IBAN fraud and identity theft are becoming increasingly widespread. So, checking the IBAN number before completing a transfer is a way to protect against the risk of fraud.

There are several digital solutions that fight bank fraud. The bank messaging app SEPAmail DIAMOND (Direct Identity Control for Account Management ON Demand) enables vendors and clients within the SEPA region to communicate securely and check IBAN numbers. This verification system is now recommended by the largest French banks (Crédit Mutuel CIC, BPCE, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, La Banque Postale and BNP Paribas) to cut down on the risk of fraud and reduce input errors.

Alternatively, you can entrust your payments to Stripe Payments, an integrated payment system designed to boost your conversion rates and reduce the risk of fraud by using advanced machine learning algorithms. In the face of increasingly sophisticated attempts to commit fraud, companies are well advised to take advantage of automated fraud prevention tools. To find out how Stripe can help you improve the security of your SEPA and international transactions, contact one of our experts.

The content in this article is for general information and education purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Stripe does not warrant or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy, or currency of the information in the article. You should seek the advice of a competent attorney or accountant licensed to practice in your jurisdiction for advice on your particular situation.

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