Fighting against IBAN discrimination

Deziree Rapi

 · June 12, 2020  · 06/12/2020

Good news! Your Revolut account details (think: IBAN, BIC) should be accepted everywhere in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

If an employer or company outside the country where you set up your Revolut account has refused your bank details, you should know that you have just fallen victim to IBAN discrimination - which is not only inconvenient to you but also illegal (specifically a violation under Article 9 of the SEPA Regulation).

What does IBAN discrimination look like? If you’re from France and you dutifully tried to set up your utility bill, but the utility company refuses your IBAN and BIC from Revolut because they only accept French IBANS, hold off on opening up that French bank account – because this is IBAN discrimination and we can help you fight it.

What can I do about IBAN discrimination?

If you’re experiencing IBAN discrimination, you can take a few simple steps to resolve it.

  1. First, send them a formal written complaint, explaining that it is against the law. Here’s a template you can use.
  2. If they still do not comply following your formal complaint, report them to the relevant authority in your country, providing as much detail as possible, like this example.
  3. Then, tell us about it in this short form

As always, we're here to help. You can contact our support team in your Revolut app.

How can I identify IBAN discrimination?

Employers and merchants cannot discriminate against your Revolut Euro IBAN because of its country code, length or any other reason. If you face similar situations like any of the below, then you’re facing IBAN discrimination:

  • You want to set up direct debits on your mobile bill in Germany but they refuse to accept any IBAN that doesn’t start with DE
  • The merchant accepts online bank payments, but they require you to input 32 characters, the domestic IBAN length
  • Your employer, based in Spain, refuses to send your salary to an IBAN which doesn’t start with ES

What is an IBAN?

The International Bank Account Number, or IBAN for short, is a unique combination of up to 34 letters and numbers used to identify a bank account from millions around the world. Since 2014, banks across Europe adapted the IBAN as a way to standardise Euro payments. IBANs begin with a 2 digit country code which denotes where the account is based.

When you open an account with Revolut, your Euro IBAN will be generated. Regardless of where you are within the SEPA zone, you can use that IBAN to send and receive EUR payments, set up EUR direct debits and receive your salary in EUR.

Formal complaint to company template

Use this template to create a formal complaint:

To whom it may concern,

My Revolut Euro-denominated IBAN [insert your IBAN] is a valid account that supports SEPA payments.

[Explain the situation you faced with as much detail as possible, including the transaction you are trying to complete and how you were refused]

Please authorise my details in your systems to allow direct debits and credit transfers to my account. IBAN discrimination is a violation of Article 9 of the SEPA Regulation and refusal to comply will be reported to [insert relevant authority].

Kind regards,
[Your name]

Formal complaint to authority template

To whom it may concern,

[Insert company committing IBAN discrimination] continues to refuse my Euro-denominated IBAN following a formal compliant I submitted.

[Explain the situation you faced with as much detail as possible, including the transaction you are trying to complete, how you were refused, and attach your formal complaint]

Kind regards,
[Your name]