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.
the first digit of the sort code identifies the bank itself and in other cases the first 2 digits
identify the bank.There is a strong correlation between BIC Codes and sort codes, sort codes are not explicitly encoded
into BIC codes .
The bank itself was allocated a main number alphabetically; Lloyds Bank for example was allocated 3,
National Provincial was allocated 5, Martins was allocated 11.
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.
Six-digit sort codes were introduced in a staggered process during the 1960s as the banking industry moved towards automation.
Prior to this and to facilitate the manual processing of
cheques branches were allocated a 'national code' which would comprise anything between three and five digits.
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.
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 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