Retraite Dorée Au Portugal,In the Personal Finance Category:

Accounts and Banks

What is the difference between NIB and IBAN and what is the BIC/SWIFT code?

NIB and IBAN are terms you've heard, but do you know what distinguishes them? Also know what BIC/SWIFT is and when to use it.

NIB and IBAN and BIC/SWIFT are codes that identify in the financial system accounts and banks (in the case of NIB and IBAN) or just the bank (in the case of BIC/SWIFT).

Although we still talk about NIB, this bank code is less and less used. In 2016, it was replaced by the IBAN in most bank transfers. Only in transfers you make at ATMs you will have to use it.

But what each of these codes means and in which situations each of them is used is what we intend to clarify in this article.


Bank Identification Number - NIB  


The NIB is the Portuguese name for the Basic Bank Account Number (BBAN). It is composed of 21 digits that are divided into four parts:

  1. The four digits indicate the code of the financial institution assigned by Banco de Portugal;
  2. The following four indicate the branch code of the financial institution where you have your account domiciled. Many banks no longer use this code so it is normal for these four digits to be zeros;
  3. The next eleven digits are your bank account number; 
  4. The last two digits are security check digits.
  5. Replacement of NIB by IBAN
  6. The creation of the Single Euro Payments Area, better known as SEPA, allowed for the harmonization of payment rules throughout the European community and, as a result, some changes emerged in the banking system.

    Have you noticed that making a transfer to an account in Portugal has the same cost as making a transfer to any other European country included in the SEPA zone? As this was one of the changes that benefited everyone, the differences between national and cross-border payments were eliminated.

    But for this to be possible, a change in the identification of bank accounts also had to occur, with the inclusion of the country where the account is domiciled. Thus came the IBAN.

  7. International Bank Account Number – IBAN

    In 2016, the IBAN was created, which aggregates the country code and the BBAN of each country.

  8. In Portugal the IBAN has 25 characters, but in other countries the number may be different, depending on the number of digits that make up the respective BBAN. The Belgian IBAN has 16 characters and the French IBAN has 27, for example.

    In Portugal, the IBAN has three sets of characters, that is:

    • The two initial characters are the country code. The code for Portugal is PT;
    • The next two digits are control digits and are also part of the country code;
    • The next 21 digits are the NIB.

    You can consult the codes of banks and agencies in the lists published by Banco de Portugal on its website.


    The Bank Identifier Code (BIC) is a unique code that identifies the bank. These codes are managed by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).

    Hence these two acronyms usually go together and commonly called BIC/SWIFT bank code.

    The BIC/SWIFT is composed of 8 or 11 characters, that is:

    • The first four letters identify the bank;
    • The next two letters identify the country;
    • The next two letters refer to bank location and code status (L stands for active code);
    • The last three (optional) identify the branch or head office (identified with XXX) . In case they do not exist, the BIC/SWIFT has only 8 characters.

    As an example, Novo Banco's BIC/SWIFT is BESCPTPL, where BESC is the bank code, PT represents Portugal, PL the location, meaning L the code is active.

    The BIC/SWIFT is normally used in transactions with countries that have not yet adopted the IBAN and that intend to reinforce the identification guarantees to complete a financial transaction.

Opening an online bank account: how to do it and what are the advantages

Opening an online bank account makes it easier and simpler to open a bank account. It gains in comfort, but it doesn't lose security.

Opening an online bank account brings advantages that are not just about speed and convenience. In addition to saving time, it can also save you money, and the environment.

Going to the bank from the sofa or without leaving your workplace has become commonplace. With ATMs and Internet access, organizing our day-to-day activities according to the opening hours of the nearest bank branch is less and less necessary.

Certainly, in the last few months, you have used homebanking more and you may not even remember the last time you dealt with something directly at your bank counter. Transferring money, asking for cards or simulating and asking for a credit are some of the common operations that can now be done anytime, wherever you are.

So, why not think about opening an online bank account?


It's easy, it's fast and you don't have to move or think if you can get to the bank before closing time.

Opening an online bank account therefore has obvious advantages, especially at a time when we all want to avoid unnecessary travel and queues.

If convenience and speed are important factors, there are other arguments that can help convince those who are still in doubt. Did you know you can save money? This is what happens, for example, if you open an account online at any bank.

When opening an account through the internet, you can have a maintenance fee waiver for three months. But in addition to saving, you can also earn. 


Opening an online bank account is quite simple. All you have to do is have a computer, mobile phone or tablet at hand. The entire process is completed in a few steps.

To validate your identity you can use the Mobile Digital Key (CMD) or, if you are using the app, you can also do it via video call.

If you still don't have a Mobile Digital Key, just go to the identification, authentication and digital signature website to ask for the code and get more information.

The second step in opening an online bank account is to read and accept the documentation. And how can you do that without going to the bank to sign the papers? In a very simple way: using a code that you will receive via SMS.

The next step is to start using the account.

How do I know if the account is already available?

Now that you've validated your identity and signed the necessary digital documents, how long will you have to wait to start using the account?

In fact, you don't need to wait for almost anything. If you used the Mobile Digital Key, your data and information have already been confirmed by the bank. You don't have to sign anything else or go to a counter.

For those who used video calling, the process is a little different. In this case, you have to make a credit transfer to your new account.

Then just use Netbanco or the app to carry out day-to-day operations.


You are abroad, but you have to pay your taxes in Portugal!

If you choose direct debit,

The IBAN of the account you wish to use for the payment must be domiciled with a bank located in one of the countries of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). The countries belonging to the SEPA space are: the Member States of the European Union, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican.

If your bank account is not Portuguese, ownership must be confirmed in advance by AT. For this, you must send a proof issued by your Banking Entity that confirms the ownership of the account.

• Contact the Telephone Service Center (CAT), on + 351 217 206 707, every working day from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.
• Contact the electronic counter service e-balcão on the Finance Portal

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