Sort code UK Banks

A sort code is the name given by both the British and Irish banking industry to the bank codes which are used to route money transfers between banks within their respective countries via their respective clearance organisations. In Ireland it is known as the NSC or National Sort Code[1] and is regulated by IPSO (Irish Payment Services Organisation). Although sort codes in both countries have the same format, they are regulated by different authorities as each country has its own banking system.

Banks in Northern Ireland can be part of either the British or the Irish clearing system, depending on their country of registration. Also, sort codes for Northern Ireland branches of banks registered in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, are valid, and recognised for use in the Republic. The numbering ranges for both are complementary, but do not overlap.

The sort code, which is a six-digit number, is usually formatted as three pairs of numbers, for example 12-34-56. It identifies both the bank and the branch where the account is held. In some cases, the first digit of the sort code identifies the bank itself and in other cases the first 2 digits identify the bank. Although there is a strong correlation between BIC Codes and sort codes, sort codes are not explicitly encoded into BIC codes (although they are encoded into IBANs).

List of sort codes of the United Kingdom


In the United Kingdom the initial digits of bank sort codes are allocated to settlement members of the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company and the Belfast Bankers' Clearing Committee. These numbers are six digits long, formatted into three pairs which are separated by hyphens.

The following list shows the first two digits of the sort codes allocated to clearing banks. Thus, in the example 01-10-01, 01 indicates that the bank is a branch of the National Westminster Bank; the other sets of digits are for internal use. This example represents the NatWest branch in Manchester. Clearing banks can act for other banks, so looking up a bank by sort code in this list does not always mean the account is actually handled by that bank, e.g. the sort code 08-32-00 HMRC VAT is not a Co-operative Bank account but a Citibank account, as is 08-32-10 for National Insurance.


Range Bank
01 National Westminster Bank
05 Clydesdale Bank
07-00 to 07-49 Nationwide Building Society
08 The Co-operative Bank
08-60 to 08-61
08-90 to 08-99
08-31 to 08-32 Citibank International
09-00 to 09-19 Santander UK
10-00 to 10-79 Bank of England
11 Bank of Scotland
12-00 to 12-69
13 Barclays Bank
15-98 to 15-99 C. Hoare & Co
15 Royal Bank of Scotland
15-80 to 15-80
20 to 29 Barclays Bank
30 to 39 Lloyds TSB Bank
40 to 49 HSBC Bank
50 to 59 National Westminster Bank
60 to 66
72* Santander UK
77-00 to 77-44 Lloyds TSB Bank
77-46 to 77-99

Scottish clearings

Separately operated by the Committee of Scottish Clearing Bankers until 1985.

Range Bank
80 to 81 Bank of Scotland
82 Clydesdale Bank
83 Royal Bank of Scotland
87 Lloyds TSB Scotland
89-00 to 89-29 Santander UK


Belfast Bankers' Clearing Company

The clearing system in Northern Ireland is operated under the Belfast Clearing Rules which are agreed by the Belfast Bankersí Clearing Company Ltd. (formerly the Northern Ireland Bankersí Association).

Range Bank
90 Bank of Ireland
91 Northern Bank
93 Allied Irish Banks (UK)
94 Bank of Ireland
95 Northern Bank
98 Ulster Bank


Sort codes of the Republic of Ireland

The sort code ranges in use in the Republic of Ireland are broadly similar to those used in Northern Ireland. Exceptions include:

  • 92 - for Central Bank of Ireland/Irish Government use;
  • 99 - used by Irish permanent tsb, the former Bank of Scotland/Halifax (Ireland), and for clearing accounts for major international banks.

It should also be noted that, in the Republic, the trading name of Danske Bank is National Irish Bank.


International clearance

The British and Irish sort codes are only used for domestic money transfers. If money is being transferred across international borders, an international network is used. Many European countries use the IBAN as a means of identifying bank account numbers, but transfers to, amongst others, the United States and Australia make use of the BIC Codes. Characters 9 to 14 of British and Irish IBANs hold the bank account sort code.In some countries there is no direct equivalent of sort codes as the bank and branch codes are maintained separately from each other in those countries. Other countries, however, have codes which are equivalent to sort codes, but with formats unique to the country concerned. Examples include:

  • Germany/Austria: Bankleitzahl (BLZ)
  • Switzerland: Bankenclearing-Nummer (BC-Nummer)
  • Australia: Bank-State-Branch (BSB)
  • Canada: Transit Code
  • Sweden: Clearingnummer
  • Ukraine: MFO
  • India: IFSC (Indian Financial System Code)








The codes listed above for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden are incorporated into the IBANs for those countries




The Industry Sorting Code Directory (ISCD) is the definitive list of bank branches and sub branches in the United Kingdom. The directory is maintained by VocaLink on behalf of the UK Payments Administration Limited (formally APACS).

The ISCD contains the sort code, SWIFT Bank Identifier Code (BIC), payment information, clearing information and contact details for all bank branches and sub-branches involved in the UK payment clearing system.

The ISCD is used by organisations to check the validity of sorting codes, which, combined with modulus checking of the bank account number and sorting code, is essential for successful Direct Debit and BACS Credit transactions.

The information contained within the ISCD is subject to frequent changes. To ensure that organisations have access to accurate information, VocaLink updates the ISCD once a week and makes it available to download. To obtain the ISCD, organisations must register with VocaLink or one of its official ISCD distributors.

Extended Industry Sorting Code Directory (EISCD) The Extended Industry Sorting Code Directory is based upon the ISCD and was introduced to provide reference data to support the UK's Faster Payments service. The EISCD contains all data elements found within the ISCD, with the addition of a new section containing Faster Payments clearing information for each UK bank branch.

The EISCD is updated weekly and is available from VocaLink and authorised distributors.



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