People around the world rely on almost 300 different currencies to do business with each other, which is why it pays to use ISO 4217.
This standard establishes internationally recognized codes for the representation of currencies that enable clarity and reduce errors. Currencies are represented both numerically and alphabetically, using either three digits or three letters. Some of the alphabetic codes for major currencies are familiar, such as “EUR” for Euros. Fortunately, ISO 4217 covers everything from Afghanis to Zambian Kwacha as well.
Access ISO 4217:2015
The alphabetic code is based on another ISO standard, ISO 3166, which lists the codes for country names. The first two letters of the ISO 4217 three-letter code are the same as the code for the country name, and, where possible, the third letter corresponds to the first letter of the currency name.
- The US dollar is represented as USD – the US coming from the ISO 3166 country code and the D for dollar.
- The Swiss franc is represented by CHF – the CH being the code for Switzerland in the ISO 3166 code and F for franc.
The three-digit numeric code is useful when currency codes need to be understood in countries that do not use Latin scripts and for computerized systems. Where possible, the three-digit numeric code is the same as the numeric country code.
For currencies having minor units, ISO 4217:2015 also shows the relationship between the minor unit and the currency itself (i.e. whether it divides into 100 or 1000).
ISO 4217:2015 also describes historical codes in List 3, as well as the codes representing certain funds in List 2.
Maintaining ISO 4217
Periodically, amendments must be made to ISO 4217:2015 and these are managed by the Secretariat of the Maintenance Agency, in this case the SIX Financial Information AG on behalf of the Swiss Association for Standardization, SNV.
More details on how to contact SIX Financial Information AG can be found in the list of Maintenance Agencies.
Using ISO Codes
ISO allows free-of-charge use of its country, currency and language codes from ISO 3166, ISO 4217 and ISO 639, respectively.
Users of ISO country codes have the option to subscribe to a paid service that automatically provides updates and supplies the data in formats* that are ready-to-use for a wide range of applications. For more information, visit the ISO Store.
*(.csv, .xml and .xls formats)