Ukraine switches to international IBAN standard to ease bank payments

By Natalia Datskevych. Published Jan. 13 at 2:49 pm

Pedestrians walk past a poster advertising consumer loans on Aug. 6, 2019 in Kyiv.Photo by Oleg Petrasiuk

Starting on Jan. 13, Ukrainian bank customers can only make payments using IBAN accounts, the National Bank of Ukraine said.

The announcement marks the completion of the country’s transition to IBAN, which stands for International Bank Account Number, an internationally agreed system to ease cross-border payments.

IBAN includes the country code of the account (for Ukraine: UA), a check digit, the customer’s bank code and the number of the account itself.

Originally IBAN was created to standardize interbank payments within the European Union.

Now, the standard is heavily used in other countries such as Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and many others. Ukraine was among the last few post-Soviet countries that did not use this standard. Moldova, Belarus, Azerbaijan and others switched to it in 2013–2017.

IBAN helps to reduce errors and delays in making international payments. The code can contain up to 34 alphanumerical characters. Ukraine’s IBAN will have 29 characters.

According to iban.com, 76 countries globally use the IBAN standard.

The National Bank of Ukraine began the transition to IBAN on Aug. 5. By Nov. 1, all the Ukrainian banks had fully completed the transition, but the deadline was prolonged until Jan. 12 at the request of the State Treasury Service of Ukraine.

A bank customer’s personal IBAN can be found on their printed bank statement or in their online banking portal. The maximum transfer amount under IBAN is 50,000 euros.

According to Nadezhda Yashchenko, the head of operations at Ukraine’s RadaBank, the introduction of IBAN in Ukraine will help bring the country’s payment space into line with Europe.

“This will make it easier to pay bills and exchange billing information,” Yashchenko said on Dec. 4, according to the bank website.

In the future, the National Bank of Ukraine wants to allow payments using QR codes, which will have information about customers’ IBAN accounts.

(c)KIYV POST 2020

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