Within the SEPA (Single Euro Payment Area), all euro payments, i.e. sending money within the SEPA area, and all direct debits across Europe are carried out according to the uniform SEPA payment procedures.
Private customers can send money within the SEPA area at any time, online, at self-service kiosks and at a branch. To pay with a SEPA direct debit, all you need to do is to provide the payment recipient with a SEPA direct debit mandate.
Sending money to countries outside the SEPA zone is simple and can be done using a conventional international payment (SWIFT payment).
IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number and is the internationally standardised bank account number that is used for national and international SEPA payments.
IBANs have a uniform structure internationally and comprise of a country code, a check digit and a national component, which, in Germany, comprises of the bank sort code and account number. IBAN lengths differ from country to country. They are limited to a maximum of 34 alphanumeric characters and, in Germany, always have 22 digits.
The BIC (Bank Identifier Code) is an international code that clearly identifies banks worldwide. The BIC, often also called the SWIFT Code, is used as a second identifier in addition to the IBAN when sending money within the SEPA area. The BIC comprises of eight or eleven alphanumeric characters.
When sending money within Germany or Europe, you will need to provide the recipient's IBAN. Providing the BIC is optional. Exception: The BIC still needs to be provided for money sent to Switzerland, Monaco and San Marino.
Your IBAN and BIC are specified on your statements, your online banking account and on the back of your Sparkasse debit card.