Check-digit calculation for account numbers
- General information
- Introduction of and amendments to check-digit calculation methods
- Calculating a check digit
- List of the check-digit calculation methods used in the banking industry
- Enquiries about individual descriptions of check-digit calculation methods
The validation of account numbers using the check-digit method promotes the smooth and automated settlement of payments. A transferring payment service provider or a first collecting institution must therefore check the accuracy of the payees' or payers' account numbers. The validation of check digits and the treatment of payments with account numbers for which the check-digit calculation has produced a negative result are based on the relevant payment agreements (annex 3 footnotes 2, 7, 14 and 15 of the Agreement on paperless data exchange for transactions between banks in the domestic payment system ("Clearing Agreement") (Vereinbarung über den beleglosen Datenaustausch in der zwischenbetrieblichen Abwicklung des Inlandszahlungsverkehrs, "Clearingabkommen"); no 5 of the Agreement on credit transfers (Abkommen zum Überweisungsverkehr); section II no 3 (2) and section III no 3 (3) of the Agreement concerning the collection of cheques ("Cheque Agreement") (Abkommen über den Einzug von Schecks, "Scheckabkommen").
Introduction of and amendments to check-digit calculation methods
The payment service provider are allowed to choose which check-digit calculation method they use. The Deutsche Bundesbank issues codes for check-digit calculation methods in accordance with an agreement with the central associations of the banking industry and maintains a list of the check-digit calculation methods used in the banking industry.
If a credit institution selects a procedure which does not yet have a code, the account-holding branch of the Deutsche Bundesbank must be informed, if applicable via its head office or its central association. This information should contain a precise description of the procedure, a sample calculation and both correct and incorrect test account numbers. Please note that a lead time of around six months should be allowed for the introduction or amendment of a check-digit calculation method.
If the description of a check-digit calculation method needs to be changed because, for example, the range of account numbers used is to be extended, the payment service provider using this method must mutually agree this and inform the Deutsche Bundesbank accordingly.
The introduction or amendment of check-digit calculation methods and their validity dates as well as the general overview of the descriptions of the check-digit calculation methods are posted here on the Deutsche Bundesbank's website. Payment service provider will also find this information in publications of their central associations.
Calculating a check digit
Validation of an account number to check that it complies with the general calculation instructions for a given credit institution's account numbers requires the complete account details, the algorithm of the check-digit calculation method (in German only) and the bank sort code file.
The codes for the calculation method used by the various payment service provider appear in field 9 of the bank sort code file. Payment service provider that do not have a (published) check-digit calculation method enter the code »09«.
Please note, however, that positive validation of an account number does not prove that this account actually exists, but merely indicates that this would be a valid account number.
List of the check-digit calculation methods used in the banking industry
To the validation date of 3 June 2013 the 51 and 84 check-digit calculation methods will be amended. There will also be a clarification to the E0 check-digit calculation method.
Enquiries about individual descriptions of check-digit calculation methods
Enquiries about individual descriptions of check-digit calculation methods should be addressed to the payment service provider which use them. However, queries about check-digit calculation methods used by the cooperative payment service provider, which are represented by the Federal Association of People's Banks and Raiffeisen Banks (Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken, BVR), should be sent to the this e-mail address.
Please note that e-mail enquiries about bank sort codes and check-digit calculation methods sent to the payment service provider, the BVR or the Bundesbank can be answered only if the enquirer gives his/her full address and telephone number.