What is IBAN in UAE?

Learn its purpose and specific uses in the country
What is IBAN in UAE?
In banking, IBAN is acronym for International Bank Account Number

The dawn of more sophisticated and secure technologies has paved the path for more efficient global banking and payment systems. When making international transfers, payment and banking solutions typically require IBAN, or International Bank Account Number, to identify an overseas bank account. Keep reading to learn more about IBAN. 

A2A payments on the rise

Before we delve into the meaning of IBAN, it’s important to understand the context of its increasing relevance, particularly regarding account-to-account (A2A) payments. A2A payments are money transfers made directly from one bank account to another. 

As highlighted in a report by FIS Global, the global transaction value of account-to-account (A2A) payments reached $525 billion in 2022. This statistic could increase at a compound annual growth rate of 13 percent until 2026. In the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, A2A emerged as the third most popular payment method in e-commerce, only behind credit cards and digital wallets.

As payment methods such as A2A arise, IBAN becomes an essential number that helps ensure accurate and efficient processing of international financial transactions.  

What exactly is IBAN?

IBAN, which stands for International Bank Account Number, is a string of up to 34 alphanumeric characters. It’s the global standard for identifying a bank account. It is composed of the following:

  • A two-letter country code 
  • Check digits, which are computed according to ISO/IEC 7064 (MOD97-10) guidelines
  • A Basic Bank Account Number (BBAN), which is composed of a three-digit bank code and the involved bank account number

GCC banks

IBAN in the UAE

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the dedicated country code is AE. Here’s an example of what an IBAN looks like in the UAE: AE070331234567891234567. In this IBAN, the check digits are 0 and 7, while the bank code is 033. The account number is 1234567891234567.

When written or printed on documents, you can divide your IBAN into groups of four characters for better readability. Note that the final group of an IBAN for a UAE customer contains three characters. In the example above, you can write it as AE07 0331 2345 6789 1234 567. However, you must input it without spaces when using electronic payment systems. 

For your reference, here’s a list of some of the most popular banks in the country alongside their bank codes.

Bank name Bank code
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) 003
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank 050
Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates 001
Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) 023
Dubai Islamic Bank 024
Emirates NBD 026
First Abu Dhabi Bank 035
Mashreq Bank 033
National Bank of Fujairah 038
National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah (RAKBANK) 040

Read: Smarter banking is on the way with GenAI

More things to know

Effective November 2011, the country’s Central Bank has mandated banks in the UAE to accept and process payments with an IBAN. Here are some more things you need to learn about this unique number.

  • Institutions that are eligible to issue an IBAN. In the UAE, only banks with customer accounts used for electronic payments can generate an IBAN.
  • Customers who need an IBAN. If you’re a bank customer and need to receive or make electronic payments in the UAE, you will need an IBAN. You must also have unique numbers for each account if you have more than one.
  • Purpose of IBAN. This number, as stated, ensures that payments are channeled into the right account number, whether you’re making a domestic or international transaction. But beyond securing the correct local and cross-border payments, the IBAN is also vital for transactions within the UAE’s Wages Protection System or the country’s electronic salary transfer system.
  • Obtaining your IBAN. To know your IBAN, you can find it on your online or printed bank statements, usually at the top of the page. Most banks also have an online IBAN generator where you only have to input your bank account accurately.

Final thoughts

As global financial transactions grow increasingly — along with the advancement of digital platforms — the importance of standardized systems like the IBAN becomes even more vital. In the UAE, you can use it when making international and local payments electronically. It’s also essential to the country’s unique Wages Protection System. 

As with other figures or codes that you key in when performing online transactions, ensure your IBAN is correct to avoid delays or having funds sent to the wrong account.

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