What Is a Bank Sort Code? [UK Banking Basics]

If you’re asking “what is a bank sort code?” Here’s your answer…

What Is a Bank Sort Code?

A bank sort code is a unique six digit number that identifies banks in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Bank sort codes are used when sending transfers from one UK bank to another. In addition to identifying the bank, sort codes also identify the clearing bank and the branch where the account is held.

This article is part of our free series on how to send money online through bank transfers, direct deposit, and more – click here to get access for free.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. How Do I Find My Sort Code?
  2. Do You Need Bank Sort Codes When Sending Money?
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Ready to Explore Your Options?

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How Do I Find My Sort Code?

You can find your code at the bottom of cheques, on your bank statement, through online banking, or by contacting your local branch. In short, your code will be listed anywhere your account information can be found, enabling you to quickly receive deposits into your bank account.

Do You Need Bank Sort Codes When Sending Money?

You need bank sort codes when sending money domestically between local banks in the United Kingdom or Ireland. The code acts as a unique identifier to ensure that the transfer arrives at its intended destination.

That said, different countries use different unique identifiers. So, if you are sending transfers between local banks in a particular country, you should confirm the local equivalent to the bank sort code and make sure you have the correct number before scheduling a transfer.

Here’s a look at unique identifiers that are used in different countries around the world:

  • United States: Routing Number
  • Canada: Transit Number
  • Australia: Bank-State-Branch Code
  • Germany: Bankleitzahl or “Bank Routing Number”
  • Brazil: Código de Compensação or “Bank Clearing Code”
  • Japan: 銀行コード or “Bank Code”
  • India: Indian Financial System Code
  • South Africa: Universal Branch Code
  • Mexico: Clave Bancaria Estandarizada or “Standardized Banking Code”
  • China: 银行行号识别码 or “Bank Number Identification Code”

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are three of the most common questions that we receive from people asking “what is a bank sort code?”. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

Is a BSB the Same as a Sort Code?

BSB is the same as a sort code. However, BSB is used in Australia while bank sort codes are used in the United Kingdom and Ireland. BSB stands for Bank-State-Branch Code. It is required when sending domestic transfers between banks in Australia.

What Is a Sort Code for a Bank?

A sort code for a bank is a unique number that identifies the specific bank and branch that a transfer is being sent to. Additionally, a bank sort code also identifies the specific clearing bank, which allows you to tell which country the account is domiciled in. Using a bank sort code is important because it ensures that your transfer will arrive into the intended account.

Is a Sort Code the Same as SWIFT Code?

No, a sort code is not the same as a SWIFT code. The main difference between a sort code and a SWIFT code is that a sort code is used for domestic transfers to identify the specific bank and branch where an account is held while a SWIFT code is used for international transfers to identify where an account is held.

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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