August 13, 2019 Online shopping is currently 93 percent Polish Internet users. According to the Prestige Group survey, the number of e-shopping enthusiasts has increased by 55% since 2017! The growing popularity of online shopping is the growing number of bank transfers. How do you check the owner of a bank account and make sure that you transfer money to the correct bank account number? 

How do you know who your bank account belongs to?

How do you know who your bank account belongs to?

People who often shop online or want to make a large transfer may be afraid that the money will end up in the wrong account. Can you check the owner after the account number and make sure that you transfer the cash to the right recipient? No. In accordance with the Banking Act and with the amendments to the GDPR 2018, in this way we will not receive the data of the bank account owner. The bank has the right to transfer data only to the client himself, client’s representative or law enforcement authorities (in justified cases!).

The necessity of banking secrecy means that we can only verify how to check the owner of a bank account – what bank is the account maintained and where is the bank located. If it turns out that the bank branch is in a completely different place than the seller informed us, we should be vigilant. We have more options if we enter the wrong invoice number.

Incorrect transfer – money back

Incorrect transfer - money back

Can I get my money back if we made the wrong transfer? After the amendment to the Act on payment services, we have a much better chance of getting money back. How does it look in practice?

If we have made an incorrect transfer, it is our responsibility to notify the bank of the incident. After receiving the notification from us, the bank is obliged to inform the recipient of the transfer of the need to return the mistakenly received cash to a special technical account.

He must also notify him of the consequences of not making a return transfer. The recipient of the incorrect transfer should return the amount received within the next 30 business days. If the money does not arrive within the set time limit, the bank will refund it from its own financial resources.
A mistake in a transfer can happen to anyone. Why?

Bank transfer only from the bank account number

Bank transfer only from the bank account number

Pursuant to the Act of 19 August 2011 on payment services, the recipient’s bank account number is sufficient to make a bank transfer. Previously, we also had to provide the details of the person who would receive the money. If we did not do this, the bank did not make the transfer.

That is why transferring cash to someone is much simpler today. On the other hand, it is also easier to transfer money to the wrong bank account number. Just mistake one of the digits that make up your account number. In the absence of other data, the bank automatically approves the transfer.

It is not difficult to make a mistake, because the bank account number (in short: NRB) consists of 26 digits. If we make a foreign transfer, we additionally provide the country code to which we transfer the money. What do the individual numbers mean?

The NRB standard used in domestic trade

The bank account number is the unique identifier of the client’s account in payment transactions. The applicable bank account numbering standard indicates that the bank account number:

  • must have 26 digits,
  • cannot contain letters
  • is to be divided by spaces in paper documentation and may not contain spaces in electronic transactions (to reduce the risk of errors).

In the Polish banking system, in payment transactions at the national level, the bank account number is:

  • kk aaaa aaaa bbbb bbbb bbbb bbbb in paper documentation,


  • kkaaaaaaaabbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb in electronic transactions.

What do the next numbers mean?

  • cc is the double-digit checksum of the entire bank account number,
  • aaaa aaaa is an eight-digit bank branch billing number that allows you to identify a specific banking institution,
  • bbbb bbbb bbbb bbbb is a sixteen-digit customer account number.

The IBAN standard, i.e. the international bank account numbering standard, is used in cross-border trade. It adopts the format: PLkkaaaaaaaabbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb, where:

  • the first two characters are the code of the country in which the customer maintains the bank account in accordance with the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 standard. Accounts in IBAN format maintained in Poland are preceded by the sign: “PL”,

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