Bank codes are numerical or alphanumerical codes that identify specific banks. They are vital for safely and securely administering national and international money transfers. We’ve already covered UK and European bank codes, such as IBAN, SWIFT and BIC - but what about codes used outside the EU? We’ve put together an overview of the systems used by India, Australia, Hong Kong and Nigeria.
India uses IFSC to identify specific banks, including the Bank of India. They are 11 characters long, with the first four characters identifying the bank and the last six the branch. The fifth character is always a zero, and is reserved for future use as the financial system in India grows. India is currently working on moving over to the IBAN system, so the IFSC may soon be a thing of the past.
A BSB - or Bank State Branch - is the Australian version of a British sort-code. It identifies the specific branch of a bank and is used along with the account number to make a transfer or transaction. Much like a sort-code, a BSB code is made up of six numbers, the first half of which identify the bank and the second half the branch. Electronic transfers are the most popular non-cash transaction in Australia, and require both BSB and account numbers.
CHATS is the system used in Hong Kong for transferring money between banks and financial institutions. It is controlled by Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited, and is limited to transfers made in the following currencies: Hong Kong dollar; Chinese renminbi; euro and US dollar. Incredibly, CHATS transactions can far outweigh the GDP of Hong Kong - in 2005, for example, CHATS transactions were 84 times Hong Kong’s GDP. The following financial institutions are clearing houses for the various currency transfers:
- Hong Kong dollar: Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA)
- US dollar: HSBC
- Euros: Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong)
NUBAN stands for Nigeria Uniform Bank Account Number and is a 10-digit number identifying Nigerian bank accounts. It was brought in to satisfy the requirements of the West Africa Monetary Institute, and help towards the economic integration of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States).