Variable symbol (Czech: Variabilní symbol) is an identifier widely used for domestic payments in Slovakia and Czech republic. Its maximum length is 10 characters and consists only of digits. Putting a variable symbol in the payment order was modified by Decree CNB 62/2004 Coll. (Repealed Decree of the Czech National Bank No. 169/2011 Coll. without compensation, despite the repealed ordinance is still in practice).
From an accounting point of view there are no further limits for its use in business, however, there are few de facto standards:
- Variable symbol is usually used to indicate invoice numbers (after omitting any nonnumerical characters).
- Where it is necessary to clearly identify a person National identification number is used, without the separating slash (especially when payments to local authorities, housing associations, etc.).
- For identification of legal entities, IČO is used (for payments to the tax office, etc.).
Usage of variable symbol is widespread and it is often required by companies as well as by local, tax and other authorities. When paying from abroad you may use recommendation of Czech National Bank and Czech Banking Association and put the Variable symbol in the text for receiver in format /VS/nnnnnnnnnn where nnnnnnnnn is the symbol itself without any spaces or nonnumerical characters.
- Entering of Variable, Constant and Specific Codes for Payments from Abroad to the Czech Republic - joint recommendation of the CNB and the Czech Banking Association
- ČSOB page about cashless payments