A Bank State Branch (often abbreviated and used in conversation as "BSB")
is the name used in Australia and New Zealand for a bank code, which is
a branch identifier. Both countries use an identifier consisting of a
six digit numerical code that identifies an individual branch of an
Australian and New Zealand financial institution. The BSB is normally
used in association with the bank account number. However, the New
Zealand and Australian systems are incompatible. For international
transfers a SWIFT identifier is used in addition to the BSB identifier
and a bank account number.
In Australia, BSB codes are allocated by the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA). BSB codes are used in a number of payment systems in Australia:
Cheques are the most common payment method in Australia. BSB and bank account numbers appear on cheques and are used to identify the specific bank account number to be debited. BSB codes are also used on deposit and other vouchers. Paper transactions are processed under the Australian Paper Clearing System (APCS) (also known as CS1) drawn up by APCA. Account instructions which do not have a BSB code must be processed manually.
Electronic fund transfers between bank accounts use the Direct Entry system. For transfers using the Direct Entry System, BSB and bank account numbers must be given for the accounts to be debited as well as for the account to which funds are to be transferred. Electronic transactions are processed under the Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS) (also known as CS2) drawn up by APCA.
For international transfers, a SWIFT identifier is used in addition to a BSB and bank account number.
In both Australia and New Zealand, the format of the BSB code originally was for the first two digits to indicate the "bank" and the other four digits to specify the "branch" of that financial institution. In Australia, the major banks have at least historically structured their branch codes with the first of the four digit branch code indicating the state where the branch was located. Some of the larger banks have two bank codes. This is largely historic, a legacy from the time when banks maintained separate trading (cheque) and savings entities. The first digit of the bank code was either 0 (for trading bank accounts) or 1 (for savings bank accounts), with a common second digit. For example, 03 was for Westpac's trading accounts, while 73 was for Westpac's savings accounts. This distinction is now of only historic significance.
For example, the Australian BSB code "033088" breaks down to:
Today, with the recognition of many new financial institutions in Australia, the structure of the BSB has had to be modified. While banks generally still follow the state branch structure, building societies and credit unions often do not. Many smaller financial institutions are now identified by the first three digits of the BSB with the "state" field being part of the "bank" identifier. Building societies and former ones start with 63xxxx and credit unions 80xxxx. The state code structure is not always used - e.g. Bendigo Bank which started as a building society in Victoria has code 633xxx, and the Queensland based Heritage Building Society has 638xxx. A financial institution may also use one centralised BSB for all accounts. Suncorp uses 484799 for all deposit accounts regardless of which branch or state the account was opened in. St George Bank does something similar to Suncorp.
List of Australian Bank codes
List of State codes
The major banks structure their BSB codes according to States. This is largely historic and have only limited significance in electronic banking. For those who maintain State codes, the State code is the first of the four digit branch field and are:
The Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) was established on 18 February 1992 as the self-regulatory body for the Australian payment system. Initially, APCA was formed as part of the reorganisation and reform of the Australian interbank payment clearance system, starting with cheque and debit/credit card interbank clearance.
Today APCA sets, manages and develops regulations, procedures and standards governing payments clearing and settlement within Australia. Payments systems covered by APCA's rules include cheques, direct debits and deposits, electronic transactions, ATM and EFTPOS and high value payments.
APCA is a company limited by guarantee. It has 80 members including the leading Australian financial institutions (e.g., banks, building societies and credit unions), major retailers and others involved in the payment system. The Bank State Branch Numbers (BSB) system is regulated and managed by APCA.
APCA's stated mission is "to achieve and maintain international best practice in the operation of the Australian payments clearing system."
APCA's role is to manage and develop the Australian payments clearing system, so as to: