Revolut Battles IBAN Discrimination With Irish Bank Accounts


Revolut is reportedly continuing its European expansion by offering Irish customers local bank accounts.

As Bloomberg News reported Monday (Jan. 23), the launch of Irish International Bank Account Numbers (IBANs) means the British FinTech’s 2 million-plus Irish customers can stop using IBANs from Lithuania.

Revolut tells Bloomberg some customers in Ireland had run into employers or service providers who refused to accept an IBAN from a different country.

“Our customers can get their salaries paid directly into Revolut hassle-free, easily make direct debits, and more with the help of an Irish IBAN,” Revolut Europe CEO Joe Heneghan said in the report.

PYMNTS has reached out to Revolut for comment but has not yet received a reply.

That hassle Heneghan refers to is what PYMNTS has described as “IBAN discrimination.”

As noted here last year, IBANs are internationally-agreed system for identifying bank accounts across national borders. Article 9 European Union’s Single Euro Payments Area regulation has long required banks and businesses to accept IBANs from any member state.

“That means an Irish business can’t refuse payment from a SEPA-based account just because they don’t have an Irish IBAN, for example,” PYMNTS wrote. “Likewise, Article 9 also mandates that an employer can’t require that its employees hold local bank accounts to get paid.”

IBAN discrimination is especially important in Ireland, as the country is home to thousands of immigrants and a number of U.K.-based businesses. So why do employers, merchants and banks discriminate?

“Ultimately, many of the issues with IBAN discrimination boil down to a lack of knowledge of the rules,” PYMNTS wrote. “Not all companies and direct debit issuers are familiar with the relevant regulations; for example, many organizations aren’t aware of their obligation to accept euro payments from IBAN numbers regardless of the SEPA they are from.”

Founded in 2015, Revolut offers services that include money transfers, peer-to-peer payments, savings, investments, and trading. The launch of its Irish banking offering came as the company is in the midst of a large-scale expansion as it aims to quadruple its 25-million customer base.

Last year, PYMNTS reported that the company was looking to Asia to help fuel that growth, aiming to add New Zealand, India, and the Philippines to the countries where it does business, while also growing users in Japan to 1 million.

“From a competition point of view, Japan’s a very attractive market,” Revolut Founder and CEO Nik Storonsky said at the time, adding that the country’s banks don’t provide modern services.

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