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Bank sort codes

Cashless money transfer

Here you will find information on the bank sort code file and on the bank sort code update service. You can also download the bank sort code files.

General information

In line with an agreement between the Bundesbank and the the German banking industry, domestic payment service providers that operate in the field of payments are distinguished by means of bank sort codes. The Bundesbank is responsible for the allocation, modification and deletion of bank sort codes.

With effect from 3 June 2013, the bank sort code file will be extended to include the new Field 14, "Codes for the IBAN rules". In order to minimise adjustment for users of the bank sort code file, the file will be provided in two versions in future: an unchanged version and an extended version including the new codes.

The official bank sort code update service for the two versions is available to payment service providers via secure download from the Deutsche Bundesbank’s ExtraNet. In addition, all other market participants (providers of software products or interested payment service users, for example) can also register for ExtraNet. To register, please send an e-mail stating your name, address and telephone number to the following address: extranet-routing@bundesbank.de.

The Deutsche Bundesbank will additionally post the version of the bank sort code file without the new Field 14 in a non-binding manner on the internet. When using the bank sort code file, please observe the points contained in the disclaimer. The extended bank sort code file will be provided exclusively via ExtraNet.

Payment service providers are required to notify the Bundesbank of any additions, deletions and modifications to the bank sort code file and to the interbank tape using the appropriate form. Payment service providers may use the forms provided below.

The applications for the bank sort code file should be completed and printed out by the payment service providers and submitted, if applicable through their central institution, to the appropriate branch of the Bundesbank. The notifications of changes to the interbank tape should be submitted - in the same manner as stated above - to the DG-Verlag in Wiesbaden, the Bank-Verlag in Cologne, or the appropriate Bundesbank branch.

Bank sort code guide line

The agreements reached between the German banking industry and the Bundesbank on the structure of bank sort codes, the basic policy concerning the allocation of bank sort codes and the structure and management of the bank sort code file are documented in the bank sort code guideline. Payment service providers must observe the regulations pertaining to the bank sort code guideline when completing the applications.

For all other users of the bank sort code file, the structure of the bank sort code, as well as the structure of the bank sort code file is summarised in an information sheet. In the annex to this information sheet you will find, amongst other things, an overview of the new record structure.

Updates

As agreed with the central associations of the German banking industry, the bank sort code files will be updated on a quarterly basis on the Monday following the first Saturday in March, June, September and December. The files currently available contain the data valid for the period from 4 September 2017 to 3 December 2017. The files required for the next update on 3 December 2017 can be downloaded here as from November 2017. The cut-off date is 17 October 2017.

Deriving the BIC from a German IBAN (IBAN only rule)

The SEPA Regulation stipulates that payment service providers (PSPs) are no longer allowed to require payment service users to indicate the BIC of a payer's or a payee's PSP when filling out euro credit transfers and direct debits effected within the EU. This "IBAN only" rule has applied to national transactions since 1 February 2014 and for cross-border payments transactions since 1 February 2016.

Since it is essential to specify a BIC for interbank clearing purposes, PSPs are obliged to de-rive this code from the bank identifier contained in the IBAN (bank sort code, in the case of Germany) and enter it in the relevant dataset. In Germany, this is achieved using the bank sort code file. Subsection 5 of the Agreement on the Interbank Directory requires each PSP to furnish the (Bundesbank's) bank sort code file with a BIC where it can be reached for all SEPA payment schemes in which it participates and which can be used by PSPs for making SEPA payments.

Due to the fact that the bank sort code file is used for a wide variety of purposes, the datasets also contain fields that can be ignored when deriving a BIC from the bank sort code. The fields needed to derive a BIC using the bank sort code file are limited to the following.

  • Field 1: Bank sort code
  • Field 2: Specifies whether the institution is the bank sort code-carrying PSP ("1") or not ("2"). Only datasets marked with "1" are of importance
  • Field 8: Business Identifier Code (BIC)
  • Field 11: Modification code. Specifically, datasets marked with an "A" (added), an "M" (modified) or a "U" (unchanged). No use may be made of datasets marked with a "D" (deleted)

More detailed information on these individual fields and on the purpose of the other fields listed in the bank sort code file can be found in the Notice on the Bank Sort Code File.