Wondering what a business bank account number and sort codes are or where to find them? Then this guide will help.
What Is A Business Account Number?
In the UK, when opening a personal or business bank account, your bank will issue you with an account number. This is a unique number used to identify your specific account.
Bank clients will have a unique account number for each of their different bank accounts and these account numbers can’t be transferred between different accounts or different banks.
How long is a business account number?
Most UK bank account numbers are eight digits long.
There are some instances where account numbers are less than eight digits long, but a zero is added in front of the account number to reach the eight digits.
Your bank account number will only be relevant if used with a sort code (more on this later).
Where can I see my account number?
Here is where you can find your account number:
- Printed on your bank statements.
- Printed on your chequebook.
- It is also shown on your online banking profile or banking app.
Some UK banks also print your account number on the back or front of your debit card.
Your account number is not the same as your card number. A card number is a 16-digit number and is used to identify your specific debit or credit card. This number is visible on the front of your bank card.
The bank card number is also displayed on your online banking platform or banking app.
What Is A Sort Code?
A sort code identifies the specific bank and specific branch where your account is held.
You need a sort code to send money from one UK bank account to the next. It helps funds reach a specific account without unnecessary delays.
When making a domestic bank transfer, you must provide an account number and sort code to ensure that your bank will be able to process the transaction. When making a funds transfer to an international bank account, or receiving funds from another country, you’ll have to provide an IBAN which contains a particular bank’s sort code.
In the UK, the six-digit sort code is split into two parts – the first and second digits (also known as the lead pair) identify the bank at which your account is held. The last four refer to the particular branch where the account was opened.
Sort codes are in the public domain and you can find a particular bank’s sort code by searching for it online.
No two banks will have the same sort code.
How long is a sort code?
A sort code is a six-digit number.
It is, as explained above, used to identify the specific branch where your account is held.
If you provide the wrong sort code it could cause your transfer to be delayed or even rejected.
Where do I find my sort code?
You can find your sort code:
- Printed on your bank statements.
- Printed on the bottom left corner of your chequebook.
- You can also find the number on your online bank profile or banking app.
The sort code is also sometimes printed on the front or back side of your bank card alongside your account number.
Some UK only-online banks, that do not have physical branches, may make use of a single sort code for bank transfers.
Using Your Bank Account Number and Sort Code Together
When opening a new UK-based business or personal bank account, your bank issues you with both a bank account number and a sort code.
You need these two numbers to receive payments from friends or family, or when receiving payments from business partners for services delivered.
Banks and other financial institutions, therefore, use your business account number and sort code to make money transfers between different bank accounts.
You’ll also need to know the account number and sort code of another person or business when you want to make a bank transfer or payment to them.
When using your sort code and account number together, you give a person or business permission to deposit or pay money into your account. Therefore, before making a transfer or payment to you, you’ll provide them with these two numbers.
Giving your account number and sort code to a service provider will, with your permission, allow them to take money out of your account via direct debit. This is to ensure that your monthly subscriptions or recurring bills are paid on time.
Your employer may also ask you for these numbers to be able to pay your salary or wages into your personal bank account.
Using Your Bank Account Number And Sort Code For Direct Debits
Your sort code and account numbers are also used to set up a direct debit.
This allows vendors or service providers to automatically subtract money from your account to pay for your subscriptions or recurring bills every month. Only companies that have Direct Debit Guarantee approval are allowed to take money from your account through a direct debit.
Many banks have rules and regulations in place to ensure that only those with direct debit permission will be able to deduct money from your account.
You can also set up a direct debit from your bank account to ensure that your subscriptions or recurring bills are paid at the end of every month.
Using Your Sort Code and Account Number For International Transfers and Payments
Sort codes and account numbers are used for domestic payments or transfers within the UK.
To receive international transfers, financial institutions require you to provide your bank’s IBAN and SWIFT codes to enable overseas-based debtors or family and friends to make payments to your account.
To make payments to overseas accounts, you should use the international bank account number of the person or company you want to pay. You should also have their IBAN and SWIFT codes.
Is It Safe To Give Out Your Bank Account Number and Sort Code?
When someone needs to make a domestic transfer or payment to your bank account, they would need to have your bank details, and this includes both your account number and sort code. This ensures faster payments and that the payments reach your account.
It is, therefore, safe to share your bank account number and sort code with debtors or friends and family.
Your bank account number and sort code can not be used to transfer money out of your account. It’s only used by another person to ensure that, when they make a bank transfer, the money does end up in your account.
Businesses should provide their sort code and account number on their invoices to make it easy for debtors to easily make payments or set up direct debits.
When Not To Share Your Sort Code and Account Number
You should be cautious about sharing your sort code and account number with people or businesses you are not familiar with.
It is also advised against sharing your card number and card expiry date with others. Most importantly, do not share your bank card PIN with others as this will give them access to your bank account. Your CVV number should also only be known by you, as it can be used to defraud you if it gets into the wrong hands.
What is a CVV number?
Your card verification value, or CVV number is printed on the back of your bank card and is printed to the right of your signature strip. Your CVV number should only be known by you and is entered when making an online purchase to prove to online retailers that you are in physical possession of the bank card.
What is an IBAN?
IBAN refers to an International Bank Account Number and is used to ensure that international payments end up in the correct international bank account. It’s used to identify a specific bank account and contains details relating to the country where the bank account is held. It also contains information about the specific bank, branch and account number of a particular bank account.
What is a SWIFT code?
A SWIFT code is used for easier and more streamlined international transfers and ensures that payments reach the intended bank and branch. Unlike an IBAN, a SWIFT code only contains your specific bank’s information and can contain 8 or 11 characters.
What is a BIC code?
Also referred to as a SWIFT code, the Bank Identifier Code contains your specific bank’s information and is used by banks to facilitate international payments or transfers. The two codes can be used interchangeably.