Understanding BSB Numbers

Understanding BSB Numbers

If you’re looking for information on BSB numbers, you’ve come to the right place. Find out what BSB numbers are used for, what their format is and how to validate one when you’re sending money to an Australian bank account.

What is a BSB Number?

A BSB number or code is a six-digit number used to identify individual bank branches in Australia. A BSB is used in combination with an eight or nine-digit bank account number to identify the recipient of a bank transfer.

Top tip: Some banks and money transfer providers may ask you for a nine-digit bank account number. If you only have an eight-digit number, you’ll need to add a “0” in front of the account number.

Informally, a BSB number is also known as:

  • A BSB swift code.
  • A BSB code.
  • A BSB account number.
  • A BSB routing number.

If your recipient mentions one of the above, they’re probably talking about a BSB number. Although BSB numbers are different from IBAN numbers, SWIFT or BIC codes and NUBAN numbers, they do perform similar functions. BSB numbers are the Australian equivalent of a sort code in the United Kingdom.

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What does BSB mean?

BSB stands for Bank, State and Branch. The format of a BSB number is either 123-456 or 123456 and is comprised of: 

  • The first two digits (12) are the bank identifier, i.e. where the money is being sent. 
  • The third digit (3) tells which Australian state the branch is located. 
  • The last three digits (456) specify the bank branch’s address.
Did you know? Due to various mergers and acquisitions, some banks and financial institutions have more than one bank identifier.

Banking in Australia

The main banking institution is the Reserve Bank of Australia System‍ (RBA) which sets monetary policy and maintains the supply of Australian dollars in the economy. The RBA is the Australian version of the Bank of England in the UK and, as such, doesn’t offer individual bank accounts.

For personal and business accounts in Australia, there are around 50 different banking institutions including, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank), National Australian Bank (NAB) and Westpac

How to find a BSB number or code

If you need to transfer money to your bank account in Australia, BSB numbers are found on the bank’s website, recent bank statements or in your online banking account. 

If you’re sending money to a loved one, they’ll need to give you their bank’s BSB code and bank account number. Once you have your contact’s BSB code, it’s a good idea to check it online before transferring money to Australia

How to validate a BSB number

If you need to check if a BSB number is valid, bank.codes have this useful Australian BSB number validator. Enter your contact’s BSB number and get confirmation on its validity from Australia’s top banks, including, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), Bank of Queensland and Bankwest

While using BSB number validators helps, it’s always a great idea to check the number with your recipient before sending money to an Australian bank account. An incorrect number could delay or transfer your payment to the wrong bank account. 

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