Looking at the formats of European country international bank account number (IBAN) codes, I noticed that the IBAN length didn’t seem to be significantly correlated to the country’s population. Could it be related to the country’s IT maturity? I tested that using as a proxy the EU Digital Economy and Society Index, and the results were stunning.
The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) summarises the digital performance of EU Member States, across five main dimensions: Connectivity, Human Capital, Use of Internet, Integration of Digital Technology, Digital Public Services. As you can see in the chart, countries with a high DESI score (Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands) have a short IBAN length, while countries with a low DESI score (Hungary, Poland, Cyprus, Italy, Greece) have long IBAN lengths.
Certainly correlation doesn’t imply causation. In a scientific study one would control for several confounding variables, such as population, number of banks, and number of bank accounts. Furthermore such a study would examine the correlation of individual DESI components, and also perform a qualitative analysis regarding each country’s IBAN design. Nevertheless, I can think of two relevant reasons that could explain this relationship.
To dig further, you can download the data associated with the chart as a spreadheet.Read and post comments.
Last modified: Thursday, August 13, 2020 1:16 pm
Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material on this page created by Diomidis Spinellis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.