ISO 4217 is a standard published by the International Standards Organization, which delineates currency designators, country codes (alpha and numeric), and references to minor units in three tables:
- Table A.1 – Current currency & funds code list
- Table A.2 – Current funds codes
- Table A.3 – List of codes for historic denominations of currencies & funds 
The tables, history and ongoing discussion is maintained by SIX Interbank Clearing.
The ISO 4217 code list is used in banking and business globally. In many countries the ISO codes for the more common currencies are so well known publicly that exchange rates published in newspapers or posted in banks use only these to delineate the different currencies, instead of translated currency names or ambiguous currency symbols. ISO 4217 codes are used on airline tickets and international train tickets to remove any ambiguity about the price.
The first two letters of the code are the two letters of ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes (which are also used as the basis for national top-level domains on the Internet) and the third is usually the initial of the currency itself. So Japan's currency code is JPY—JP for Japan and Y for yen. This eliminates the problem caused by the names dollar, franc and pound being used in dozens of different countries, each having significantly differing values. Also, if a currency is revalued, the currency code's last letter is changed to distinguish it from the old currency. In some cases, the third letter is the initial for "new" in that country's language, to distinguish it from an older currency that was revalued; the code sometimes outlasts the usage of the term "new" itself (for example, the code for the Mexican peso is MXN). Other changes can be seen, however; the Russian ruble, for example, changed from RUR to RUB, where the B comes from the third letter in the word "ruble".
There is also a three-digit code number assigned to each currency, in the same manner as there is also a three-digit code number assigned to each country as part of ISO 3166. This numeric code is usually the same as the ISO 3166-1 numeric code. For example, USD (United States dollar) has code 840 which is also the numeric code for the US (United States).
The standard also defines the relationship between the major currency unit and any minor currency unit. Usually, the minor currency unit has a value that is 1/100 of the major unit, but 1/1000 is also used. Some currencies do not have any minor currency unit at all. In others, the major currency unit has so little value that the minor unit is no longer generally used (e.g. the Japanese sen, 1/100th of a yen). This is indicated in the standard by the currency exponent. For example, USD has exponent 2, while JPY has exponent 0. Mauritania does not use a decimal division of units, setting 1 ouguiya (UM) = 5 khoums, and Madagascar has 1 ariary = 5 iraimbilanja.
ISO 4217 includes codes not only for currencies, but also for precious metals (gold, silver, palladium and platinum; by definition expressed per one troy ounce, as compared to "1 USD") and certain other entities used in international finance, e.g. Special Drawing Rights. There are also special codes allocated for testing purposes (XTS), and to indicate no currency transactions (XXX). These codes all begin with the letter "X". The precious metals use "X" plus the metal's chemical symbol; silver, for example, is XAG. ISO 3166 never assigns country codes beginning with "X", these codes being assigned for privately customized use only (reserved, never for official codes)—for instance, the ISO 3166-based NATO country codes (STANAG 1059, 9th edition) use "X" codes for imaginary exercise countries ranging from XXB for "Brownland" to XXR for "Redland", as well as for major commands such as XXE for SHAPE or XXS for SACLANT. Consequently, ISO 4217 can use "X" codes for non-country-specific currencies without risk of clashing with future country codes.
Supranational currencies, such as the East Caribbean dollar, the CFP franc, the CFA franc BEAC and the CFA franc BCEAO are normally also represented by codes beginning with an "X". The euro is represented by the code EUR (EU is included in the ISO 3166-1 reserved codes list to represent the European Union). The predecessor to the euro, the European Currency Unit (ECU), had the code XEU.
Position of ISO 4217 code in amounts
According to the European Union's Publication Office, in English, Irish, Latvian and Maltese texts, the ISO 4217 code is followed by a fixed space and the amount:
a sum of EUR 30
In Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish and Swedish the order is reversed; the amount is followed by a fixed space and the ISO 4217 code:
une somme de 30 EUR
In 1973, the ISO Technical Committee 68 decided to develop codes for the representation of currencies and funds for use in any application of trade, commerce or banking. At the 17th session (February 1978) of the related UN/ECE Group of Experts agreed that the three-letter alphabetic codes for International Standard ISO 4217, "Codes for the representation of currencies and funds", would be suitable for use in international trade.
Over time, new currencies are created and old currencies are discontinued. Frequently, these changes are due to new governments (through war or a new constitution), treaties between countries standardizing on a currency, or revaluation of the currency due to excessive inflation. As a result, the list of codes must be updated from time to time. The ISO 4217 maintenance agency (MA), SIX Interbank Clearing, is responsible for maintaining the list of codes.
The following is a list of active codes of official ISO 4217 currency names.
Explanation of USD/USS/USN
The US dollar actually has three codes assigned: USD, USS (same day) and USN (next day). According to UN/CEFACT recommendation 9, paragraphs 8-9 ECE/TRADE/203, 1996, available online:
- 8. In applications where monetary resources associated with a currency (i.e. funds) need not be specified and where a field identifier indicating currency is used, the first two (leftmost) characters are sufficient to identify a currency–example: US for United States dollars for general, unspecified purposes where a field identifier indicating currency is present. (A field identifier can be a preprinted field heading in an aligned document or a similarly-agreed application in electronic transmission of data.)
- 9. In applications where there is a need to distinguish between different types of currencies, or where funds are required as in the banking environment, or where there is no field identifier, the third (rightmost) character of the alphabetic code is an indicator, preferably mnemonic, derived from the name of the major currency unit or fund – example: USD for general, unspecified purposes; USN for United States dollar next-day funds, and USS for funds which are immediately available for Federal Reserve transfer, withdrawal in cash or transfer in like funds (same-day funds). Since there is no need for such a distinction in international trade applications, the funds codes have not been included in the Annex to the present Recommendation.
Without currency code
A number of territories are not included in ISO 4217, because their currencies are: (a) not per se an independent currency but a variant of another currency, (b) a legal tender only issued as commemorative banknotes or coinage, or (c) a currency of an unrecognized or partially recognized state. These currencies are:
- Alderney pound (1:1 pegged to the pound sterling)
- Cook Islands dollar (1:1 pegged to the New Zealand dollar)
- Faroese króna (1:1 pegged to the Danish krone)
- Guernsey pound (1:1 pegged to the pound sterling)
- Isle of Man pound (1:1 pegged to the pound sterling)
- Jersey pound (1:1 pegged to the pound sterling)
- Kiribati dollar (1:1 pegged to the Australian dollar)
- Maltese scudo (1:0.24 pegged to the euro)
- Somaliland shilling (state of issue is viewed as de jure part of Somalia, exchange rate not fixed)
- Transnistrian ruble (state of issue is viewed as de jure part of Moldova)
- Tuvaluan dollar (1:1 pegged to the Australian dollar)
The following non-ISO codes are, however, sometimes used commercially:
|Code||Num||E||Currency||Locations using this currency|
|IMP||-||2||Isle of Man pound also Manx pound||Isle of Man|
|SLS, SLSH||-||2||Somaliland shilling||Somaliland|
In addition, GBX is sometimes used (for example on the London Stock Exchange) to denote Penny sterling, a subdivision of pound sterling, the currency for the United Kingdom.
Historical currency codes
A number of currencies were official ISO 4217 currency codes and currency names until their replacement by the euro or other currencies. The table below shows the ISO currency codes of former currencies and their common names (which do not always match the ISO 4217 name).
|ADF||...||2||Andorran franc (1:1 peg to the French franc)||?||1999-01-01||EUR|
|ADP||020||0||Andorran peseta (1:1 peg to the Spanish peseta)||?||1999-01-01||EUR|
|BEF||056||1||Belgian franc (currency union with LUF)||1832||1999-01-01||EUR|
|IEP||372||2||Irish pound (punt in Irish language)||1938||1999-01-01||EUR|
|LUF||442||1||Luxembourg franc (currency union with BEF)||1944||1999-01-01||EUR|
|MCF||...||1||Monegasque franc (currency union with FRF)||1960||1999-01-01||EUR|
|SML||...||0||San Marinese lira (currency union with ITL and VAL)||1864||1999-01-01||EUR|
|VAL||...||0||Vatican lira (currency union with ITL and SML)||1929||1999-01-01||EUR|
|XEU||954||.||European Currency Unit (1 XEU = 1 EUR)||?||1999-01-01||EUR|
|AON||024||0||Angolan new kwanza||1990||1995||AOR|
|AOR||982||0||Angolan kwanza readjustado||1995||1999||AOA|
|ARL||...||2||Argentine peso ley||1970-01-01||1983-05-05||ARP|
|ARP||...||2||Argentine peso argentino||1983-06-06||1985-06-14||ARA|
|BGL||100||2||Bulgarian lev A/99||1962||1999-07-05||BGN|
|BRB||...||2||Brazilian cruzeiro novo||1967||1986||BRC|
|BRN||...||2||Brazilian cruzado novo||1989-01-15||1990-03-15||BRE|
|BRR||...||2||Brazilian cruzeiro real||1993-08-01||1994||BRL|
|CSK||200||Czechoslovak koruna||?||1993-02-08||CZK and SKK|
|DDM||278||East German Mark of the GDR (East Germany)||1948-06-21||1990-07-01||DEM|
|ECV||983||.||Ecuador Unidad de Valor Constante (funds code) (discontinued)||1993||2000-01-09||-|
|GQE||...||Equatorial Guinean ekwele||1975||1985||XAF|
|ESA||996||Spanish peseta (account A)||?||?||ESP|
|ESB||995||Spanish peseta (account B)||?||?||ESP|
|ILP||...||3, 2||Israeli lira||1948||1980||ILR|
|ISJ||...||0||Icelandic old krona||?||1981||ISK|
|MKN||...||Old Macedonian denar A/93||?||1993||MKD|
|PLZ||616||Polish zloty A/94||1950||1995||PLN|
|ROL||642||Romanian leu A/05||1952-01-28||2005||RON|
|RUR||810||Russian rouble A/97||1992||1997-12-31||RUB|
|SDP||736||Sudanese old pound||1956||1992-06-08||SDD|
|SUR||...||Soviet Union rouble||1961||1991||RUR|
|TRL||792||0||Turkish lira A/05||?||2005||TRY|
|UGS||...||Ugandan shilling A/87||?||1987||UGX|
|UYN||...||Uruguay old peso||?||1993-03-01||UYU|
|XFO||...||Gold franc (special settlement currency)||?||2003||XDR|
|YDD||720||South Yemeni dinar||?||1996-06-11||YER|
|ZAL||991||.||South African financial rand (funds code) (discontinued)||1985-09-01||1995-03-13||-|
|ZRN||180||2||Zaïrean new zaïre||1993||1997||CDF|
|ZWD||716||2||Zimbabwean dollar A/06||1980-04-18||2006-07-31||ZWN|
|ZWN||942||2||Zimbabwean dollar A/08||2006-08-01||2008-07-31||ZWR|
|ZWR||935||2||Zimbabwean dollar A/09||2008-08-01||2009-02-02||ZWL|
- List of circulating currencies
- Tables of historical exchange rates
- List of international trade topics
- SWIFT and SWIFT code
- ↑ Current currencies & funds
- ↑ Current funds
- ↑ Historic denominations
- ↑ SIX Interbank Clearing
- ↑ Rules for expressing monetary units
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Number of digits after the decimal separator.
- ↑ According to Article 4 of the 1994 Paris Protocol . The Protocol allows the Palestinian Authority to adopt additional currencies. In West Bank the Jordanian dinar is widely accepted and in Gaza Strip the Egyptian pound is often used.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 The Malagasy ariary and the Mauritanian ouguiya are divided into five subunits (the iraimbilanja and khoum respectively) rather than by a power of ten. 5 is 10 to the power of 0.69897...
- ↑ "The Order of Malta, A little history". Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- ↑ "Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets – Countries' currencies and codes". Lloydstsbcorporatemarkets.com. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ "Fate of Paper Money". News.goldseek.com. 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- The official list of ISO 4217 alphabetic and numeric codes
- ISO 4217 Maintenance Agency
- An older list of ISO 4217 alphabetic codes that contains some history of ISO 4217 (PDF file)
- Another list of numeric and alphabetic ISO 4217 currency codes
- Extended list of international currencies and their abbreviation form
- A C++ library for handling ISO currencies
- Currency Codes Search
- Position of the ISO code or euro sign in amounts
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