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Iban Introduced In Bulgaria From June 5 2006

The Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) launched on March 1 an awareness campaign for the introduction of the IBAN standard.

The IBAN (International Bank Account Number) format will become effective on June 5 2006, and after this date all local payments and transfers from Bulgaria will be made from client IBAN accounts, said Dimitar Kostov, deputy governor of BNB.

The new bank account numbers will have 22 symbols instead of the current 10 and will feature letters along with the figures.

On March 1, all Bulgarian banks started replacing the numbers of the more than six million accounts used by companies and individuals to date.

This account number would guarantee the security, speed and quality of local and international bank transfers, said Levon Hampartzoumian, executive director of Bulbank and head of Bulgaria’s Association of Commercial Banks, said.

IBAN is a client account number aligned with ISO 13616. The IBAN concept was developed by the European Committee for Banking Standards and the International Organisation for Standardisation.

The concept is recognised internationally as ISO 13616:2003. The Bulgarian Institute for Standardisation has adopted it as BDS ISO 13616:2004.

All European Union member countries use the IBAN standard. It was in use in 42 countries by the end of January, of which 10 were using it for internal payments as well.
Bulgaria will be the last Balkan country to introduce the IBAN.

The application of the IBAN in Bulgaria is set out in Ordinance 13 of the BNB and is generated to each customer account only by the servicing bank.

IBAN allows easier payment processing and helps decrease the number of incorrectly effected transfers. IBAN improves efficiency, promptness and quality of effected domestic and international transfers, providing a greater degree of security.

Upon acceptance of an order for a domestic transfer and for a transfer to a country which applies IBAN standard, each bank, by using the Check Digit, conducts checks as to the accuracy of specified account numbers of the payer and beneficiary (even if the beneficiary is a customer of another bank).

The risk of a delay or rejection of a payment due to inaccuracy diminishes as beneficiary accounts are to be credited only using IBAN.

To facilitate customers, between March 1 and June 5, banks will ex-officio inform several institutions about the new IBAN accounts of their customers, namely the Finance Ministry, the National Revenue Agency and the National Social Security Institute.

Although assigned in March, the new account numbers will be activated as of 5 June and cannot be used before that date.