ISO 4217

An airline ticket showing the price in the ISO 4217 code "EUR" (bottom left) and not the currency sign

ISO 4217 is a standard first published by International Organization for Standardization in 1978, 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[1]
  • Table A.2 – Current funds codes[2]
  • Table A.3 – List of codes for historic denominations of currencies & funds[3]

The tables, history and ongoing discussion are maintained by SIX Interbank Clearing on behalf of ISO and the Swiss Association for Standardization.[4]

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 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.

Code formation

A list of exchange rates for various base currencies given by a money changer in Thailand, with the Thailand Baht as the counter (or quote) currency. Note the Korean currency code should be KRW

The first two letters of the code are the two letters of the 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, peso and pound being used in dozens of 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".

Another example of the third letter not being the initial of the unit's name is EUR for the euro.

X currencies

In addition to codes for most active national currencies ISO 4217 provides codes for "supranational" currencies, procedural purposes, and several things which are "similar to" currencies:

The use of an initial letter "X" for these purposes is facilitated by the ISO 3166 rule that no official country code beginning with X will ever be assigned. Because of this rule ISO 4217 can use "X" codes for non-country-specific currencies without risk of clashing with a future country code. ISO 3166 country codes beginning with "X" are used for private custom use (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.

The inclusion of EU (denoting the European Union) in the ISO 3166-1 reserved codes list, allows the euro to be coded as EUR rather than assigned a code beginning with X, even though it is a supranational currency.

Treatment of minor currency units (the "exponent")

The ISO 4217 standard includes a crude mechanism for expressing the relationship between a major currency unit and its corresponding minor currency unit. This mechanism is called the currency "exponent" and assumes a base of 10. For example, USD (the United States dollar) is equal to 100 of its minor currency unit the "cent". So the USD has exponent 2 (10 to the power 2 is 100, which is the number of cents in a dollar). The code JPY (Japanese yen) is given the exponent 0, because its minor unit, the sen, although nominally valued at 1/100 of a yen, is of such negligible value that it is no longer used. Usually, as with the USD, the minor currency unit has a value that is 1/100 of the major unit, but in some cases (including most varieties of the dinar) 1/1000 is used, and sometimes ratios apply which are not integer powers of 10. Mauritania does not use a decimal division of units, setting 1 ouguiya (UM) equal to 5 khoums, and Madagascar has 1 ariary = 5 iraimbilanja. Some currencies do not have any minor currency unit at all and these are given an exponent of 0, as with currencies whose minor units are unused due to negligible value.

Currency numbers

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).

Other Languages
Afrikaans: ISO 4217
العربية: أيزو 4217
asturianu: ISO 4217
Avañe'ẽ: ISO 4217
azərbaycanca: ISO 4217
башҡортса: ISO 4217
беларуская: ISO 4217
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: ISO 4217
български: ISO 4217
bosanski: ISO 4217
brezhoneg: ISO 4217
català: ISO 4217
Чӑвашла: ISO 4217
čeština: ISO 4217
Cymraeg: ISO 4217
dansk: ISO 4217
Deutsch: ISO 4217
eesti: ISO 4217
Ελληνικά: ISO 4217
español: ISO 4217
Esperanto: ISO 4217
euskara: ISO 4217
فارسی: ایزو ۴۲۱۷
français: ISO 4217
Gaelg: ISO 4217
Gagauz: ISO 4217
galego: ISO 4217
한국어: ISO 4217
հայերեն: ISO 4217
हिन्दी: आईएसओ ४२१७
hrvatski: ISO 4217
Ilokano: ISO 4217
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: আইএসও ৪২১৭
Bahasa Indonesia: ISO 4217
íslenska: ISO 4217
italiano: ISO 4217
עברית: ISO 4217
Jawa: ISO 4217
ქართული: ISO 4217
қазақша: ISO 4217
Kinyarwanda: ISO 4217
Kiswahili: ISO 4217
kurdî: ISO 4217
ລາວ: ISO 4217
latviešu: ISO 4217
lietuvių: ISO 4217
Limburgs: ISO 4217
magyar: ISO 4217
македонски: ISO 4217
Malagasy: ISO 4217
مصرى: ايزو 4217
Bahasa Melayu: ISO 4217
Nederlands: ISO 4217
Nedersaksies: ISO 4217
日本語: ISO 4217
Nordfriisk: ISO 4217
norsk: ISO 4217
norsk nynorsk: ISO 4217
Novial: ISO 4217
occitan: ISO 4217
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: ISO 4217
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਆਈ.ਐਸ.ਓ 4217
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ISO 4217
Plattdüütsch: ISO 4217
polski: ISO 4217
português: ISO 4217
română: ISO 4217
русский: ISO 4217
саха тыла: ISO 4217
Scots: ISO 4217
Sesotho sa Leboa: ISO 4217
Simple English: ISO 4217
slovenčina: ISO 4217
slovenščina: ISO 4217
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: ISO 4217
Soomaaliga: ISO 4217
کوردی: ISO 4217
српски / srpski: ISO 4217
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: ISO 4217
Sunda: ISO 4217
suomi: ISO 4217
svenska: ISO 4217
Tagalog: ISO 4217
தமிழ்: ஐ.எசு.ஓ 4217
ไทย: ISO 4217
тоҷикӣ: ISO 4217
Türkçe: ISO 4217
اردو: آیزو 4217
Tiếng Việt: ISO 4217
Yorùbá: ISO 4217
粵語: ISO 4217
Zazaki: ISO 4217
中文: ISO 4217