The International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is an internationally agreed means of identifying bank accounts across national borders with a reduced risk of propagating transcription errors. IBAN has been standardized ISO 13616-1. Advantage of implementing IBAN is to facilitate Straight Through Processing (STP) of Electronic Payments by minimizing delays and extra costs associated with incorrect account numbers. Approximately 54 countries in total are currently using IBAN mainly member countries of the European Union. In the Gulf region, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain are using IBAN.
IBAN was originally developed to facilitate payments within the European Union but the format is flexible enough to be applied globally. It consists of a ISO 13166-1 alpha-2 country code, followed by two check digits and up to thirty alphanumeric characters for the domestic bank account number (incorporating routing information), called the BBAN (Basic Bank Account Number). It is up to each country's national banking community to decide on the length of the BBAN for accounts in that country, but its length must be fixed for any given country.
IBAN IN Qatar
The initiative to introduce IBAN to the Banking fraternity in Qatar commenced in May 2013.
The deadline to complete the implementation was 31st December 2013.
The Banks were given a 4 month grace period to run the old format in parallel with the new IBAN format after the deadline.
Since 1st May 2014, it is mandatory for all the Banks to use only IBAN.