A sort code is a unique numerical code used to identify and route money transfers within a specific banking system. It is primarily used in the United Kingdom and Ireland to facilitate domestic transactions. In this article, we will explore what a sort code is, how to find it, and how to use it effectively.

Understanding Sort Codes

A sort code is a six-digit number that is divided into three pairs of numbers. Each pair has a specific meaning and provides valuable information about the bank and branch associated with the code. The first pair represents the bank, the second pair identifies the branch, and the third pair ensures accurate routing of funds within the branch.

Sort codes play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth and secure transfer of money between banks and accounts. They are commonly used for a variety of purposes, including setting up direct debits, making electronic transfers, and facilitating payroll processes.

How to find the sort code

If you are unsure of your sort code, there are several ways to find it. Here are a few methods you can use:

1. Check Your Bank Statements

Your sort code is often mentioned on your bank statements. Look for a series of numbers, usually displayed in a format like XX-XX-XX.

2. Contact Your Bank

If you cannot find your sort code on your bank statements, reach out to your bank's customer service. They will be able to provide you with the necessary details.

3. Use Online Banking

If you have access to online banking, your sort code can usually be found in your account information or settings. Look for a section labeled "Account Details" or "Account Information."

Remember, your sort code is unique to your bank account, so it is essential to keep it confidential to prevent unauthorized access to your funds.

Using Your Sort Code

Once you have located your sort code, you can use it for various banking transactions, including:

1. Setting Up Direct Debits

When setting up automatic payments for bills or subscriptions, you will typically be asked to provide your sort code. This information allows the payee to debit the necessary funds directly from your account.

2. Making Electronic Transfers

If you need to send money to another person or business, you will need their sort code along with their account number. By providing these details, you can initiate an electronic transfer, ensuring the funds reach the intended recipient accurately.

3. Receiving Payments

When receiving payments, such as salaries or refunds, the sender will need your sort code and account number. This information enables them to deposit the funds directly into your account.

Sort code examples

  1. 40-04-15: HSBC UK
  2. 20-00-00: Barclays Bank
  3. 23-14-70: TransferWise (now known as Wise)
  4. 16-00-15: Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
  5. 30-00-00: Lloyds Bank

Verify Your Bank Details with a Sort Code Checker

In today's digital banking age, verifying the authenticity of bank details is more important than ever. A Sort Code Checker Tool is an invaluable resource for this purpose. While we might not offer a sort code checker directly on our site, such tools are readily available online. These tools allow you to quickly verify the bank and branch associated with any sort code, ensuring that you have the correct information for transactions. This is particularly useful for setting up direct deposits, automated payments, or when you're transferring money. For your convenience, reputable sort code checker tools can be found on official banking websites or financial platforms such as UK Payments Administration or the SORTware web service. Remember, always use such tools wisely and ensure you're accessing them from secure and trusted sources to protect your financial information.

Why do I need a sort code?

Your sort code is a unique numerical code that identifies your bank branch in the United Kingdom. It is essential for many banking transactions, including:

  • Making payments to other UK bank accounts
  • Setting up direct debits and standing orders
  • Receiving payments from other UK bank accounts
  • Making international wire transfers

Your sort code helps to ensure that your payments are processed quickly and accurately. It also helps to prevent fraud, as it is difficult to counterfeit a sort code.

Here are some specific examples of when you might need to use your sort code:

  • When setting up a direct debit for your utilities bill, you will need to provide the sort code of the company that you are paying.
  • When making a bank transfer to a friend or family member, you will need to provide their sort code and account number.
  • When receiving a salary payment from your employer, they will need your sort code and account number.
  • When sending money abroad using a wire transfer service, you will need to provide the sort code and account number of the recipient.

How do sort codes differ from SWIFT codes?

SWIFT codes, also known as BIC codes, are international bank identifiers used for international wire transfers. They are 8-11 alphanumeric characters long and include the bank's code, country code, location code, and branch code.

Sort codes, on the other hand, are 6-digit numeric codes used to identify bank branches in the United Kingdom and Ireland. They are used for domestic bank transfers, direct debits, and standing orders.

The key difference between sort codes and SWIFT codes is that sort codes are used for domestic transactions, while SWIFT codes are used for international transactions.

Here is a simple example:

  • If you want to transfer money to a friend in the UK, you will need their sort code and account number.
  • If you want to transfer money to a friend abroad, you will need their SWIFT code and account number.

It is important to note that some banks may require you to provide both your sort code and SWIFT code for international wire transfers. This is to help ensure that the payment is processed accurately and efficiently.

IS IBAN a sort code?

The IBAN, or International Bank Account Number, is a unique identifier that aids international banks in pinpointing your account for payment processing when you're engaging in international transactions. It doesn't replace your existing account number or sort code but rather supplements them with additional details to facilitate the accurate routing of funds from abroad. However, the sort code is part of your iban number and consist of the 6 numbers after your bank code.

Where to find the sort code inside your IBAN number


In summary, a sort code is a unique numerical code used to identify and route money transfers within the banking system. It plays a vital role in facilitating domestic transactions in the United Kingdom and Ireland. By understanding how to find and use your sort code effectively, you can ensure seamless and secure banking experiences.