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The Finance Department

Request for foreign payment

Form required: Foreign Payment xls format
Contact details: Payments Section

Please use the Foreign Payments form for all invoices / non-staff expenses that are:

• To be paid in a foreign currency

• To be paid into a foreign bank account via BACS

• To be paid via a Euro cheque

• To be paid via a US Dollar cheque

• To be paid via a bank draft

If you are using Foreign Payments form please do not batch it up and please do not attach an Urgent Payment form to it – invoices should always ever have one type of form attached to them.

(you should however attach this form to a foreign non-staff expense where we are paying into a foreign bank account. However if the non-staff expense was spent in a foreign currency but to be paid into a UK bank account – in this case please just attach a historic exchange rate that we can use to calculate the amount to be paid in sterling, or an extract of the claimants bank account that show the sterling amount that the bank account was charged with)

Foreign payments can be made in any foreign currency. The total amount including bank charges are debited to the paying department's cost centre in Sterling.

The details you need to provide us with for payments in different currencies / to different countries:

In general:

• Beneficiary account name (please note that this might be different from the beneficiary name, we need the full correct bank account holders name)

• Beneficiary bank account number and bank sort code/Swift code/routing number

• Beneficiary bank's name and address (Preferably exact address but if not available, specified city is sufficient in most European countries and American states. Payments to Asian countries i.e. India and China need exact address)

• Please ensure you check with your beneficiary what currency the beneficiary bank account is held in to avoid the unnecessary foreign exchange by the beneficiary bank.

European payments

You must quote the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and SWIFT Bank Identifier Code (BIC) for all cross-border intra-EU/EEA euro payment instructions.

The IBAN (International Bank Account Number)


• 2 letters (country code)

• 2 digits (check digits)

• X digits (bank branch/domestic routing code)

• Y digits (account number - can be a combination of numbers and letters)

Eg. National Westminster Bank, Birkbeck College, University of London: GB41NWBK608007XXXXXXXX

Please note that only European countries have IBANs. When sending EUR payments to non-European countries generally we need the account number and SWIFT (BIC) code, but other domestic routing codes can be helpful as we can get extra information about the beneficiary bank.

The SWIFT code (Society for Worldwide Inter-bank Financial Telecommunication), also known as a BIC (Bankers Identifier Code)

A SWIFT code enables the electronic/telegraphic transfer of funds between banking institutions. Most international monetary transactions are sent via the SWIFT network. A SWIFT code must always contain either 8 or 11 alphanumeric characters:

• the first 4 characters identify the bank name

• the second 4 characters identify the geographical location of the head office

• the remaining 3 character suffix will identify the geographic location of the sub-branch.

Eg. Barclays Bank plc, Biarritz, France – SWIFT Code BARCFRPPBIA.

Other currency payments (non-European)

Bank detail formats when sending a payment in a currency that is the domestic currency for the destination country:

• GBP payment to UK = Account number (8 digits) + Sort Code (6 digits)

• USD payment to US = Account number (X digits - not specified) + ABA Routing number (9 digits)

• CAD payment to Canada = Account number (7-12 digits) + Transit number (4 digits /institution number/ + 5 digits /branch number)

• AUD payment to Australia = Account number (5-10 digits) + BSB routing number (6 digits)

• NZD payment to New Zealand = Account number (5-10 digits) + NZ Bank code (6 digits)

• SEK payment to Sweden =Account number (11-14 digits) + Clearing number (4 digits)

• INR payment to India = Account number (X digits – not specified) + Indian Financial System Code (11 digits – alphanumeric) + SWIFT code

For European countries if the full IBAN is available please use that, if not, please refer to the table above for account number and routing code formats.

Domestic routing codes can be helpful as we can get extra information about the beneficiary bank.

For some countries we do not use or do not have domestic routing codes, so we need the account number and SWIFT (BIC) codes.

• ZAR payment to South Africa = Account number (X digits – not specified) + SWIFT code and if available, Bank Branch number (6 digits)

Payments to all South-American countries require the beneficiary’s contact name, address and telephone number due to government regulations.

• HKD payment to Hong Kong = Account number (12-15 digits) + SWIFT code

• AED payment to United Arab Emirates = Account number (X digits – not specified) + SWIFT code

When sending a payment in a currency that is NOT the domestic currency for the destination country:

• E.g. USD payment to China = Account number (X digits – not specified) + SWIFT code

International money transfers for Brazilian Payments

Please make sure we have all the information before booking BRL payments in order to avoid transfers being held.

Details required:

• Beneficiary’s name

• Beneficiary’s phone number

• Full Beneficiary Bank address is required – including beneficiary bank branch number.

• Must include TAX ID (e.g. CPF 04043429X) - CPF (Cadastro de Pessoas Fisicas)

• Bank agency code is required (specific location of the beneficiary bank)

• Reason for payment required (i.e. import of furniture, accommodation expenses)

Please note that we only need to send BRL with this information, for all other currencies we only need the usual bank details (Beneficiary bank name, SWIFT code, full bank address, acct number etc…).


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Finance Department, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX. Departmental Office tel.:  020 3926 3145