Revolut Iban problems mean I can’t get paid – The Irish Times
A while ago, I gave in to peer pressure and opened a Revolut account. I have to say it’s awesome. However, recently some people I worked for tried to pay my fees to my Revolut account using the usual details i.e. account name, Iban etc. But it failed.
The reason? They are Bank of Ireland customers and the Banking365 app has been designed to require 22 characters in IBAN entries, which means BoI online banking customers cannot transfer to Revolut customers.
Now BoI has been familiar with Revolut for a while, and this seems like an easy problem to solve. But are they sticking to the 22 character limit in order to make things difficult for their competitor?
We know the discrimination of the Iban and the EU rules on that, and the EU Sepa directives Clearly that no technical issues should prevent Sepa transfers within the European Union, but it appears that the Central Bank has failed to oversee this technical issue when it arises among banks operating in Ireland.
It seems surprising that a major bank could be so far from requiring a basic and long-standing banking standard, especially since it only very recently updated its banking application. And the good news is that it is not, although the solution is not as intuitive as the bank itself probably assumes.
Either way, the good news from your perspective is that there’s nothing stopping your customers – or their accounting departments – from paying into your Revolut account through the Banking365 app.
The secret is to mock the app that you are somewhere you are not.
It seems strange to come to this. You’re not the only business these days operating through a Revolut account. I am aware that the fintech gave up its application for an Irish e-money license earlier this year, but it is allowed to operate here under a full banking license granted to it by the European Central Bank at the end from last year.
Banking across EU borders is supposed to be one of the benefits of the European Union and an area in which the banks themselves regularly operate, so it’s hard to see what the problem should be. The Single European Payments Area (SEPA) is there to facilitate just that. Sepa not only works in EU states, but also in the UK, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra, San Marino and even the Vatican.
Revolut customers in Ireland are already regulated by the Bank of Lithuania following a decision at the end of 2020 to move regulation away from Britain due to Brexit. And this is where things apparently get a little tricky. This means, among other things, that Irish Revolut accounts have Lithuanian International Bank Account Numbers (Ibans).
It doesn’t sound like something that should be an insurmountable problem – not least because Bank of Ireland has invested heavily in a spanking new app, even though it has struggled to impress many of its customers with its reliability, ease of use or extent of the Services.
Ibans are a unique string of numbers and letters identifying the country you are based in, your bank identity, sort code and account number. No two are the same and they are precisely designed to facilitate cross-border banking under Sepa. As you say, the rules have been in place for several years now and the banks are aware that they must authorize such transactions.
The weird thing about Ibans is that they are not standard throughout the EU. In fact, they can range from 14 characters to 34. Irish Ibans are 22 characters long and that’s what the Bank of Ireland app is set up to accommodate. However, Lithuanian Ibans are only 20 characters long.
There is a quick fix.
When people looking to pay you through Banking 365 will add you as a payee, under ‘Country and Currency’, Ireland is the default location of the payee’s bank – which is not surprising because it is where you are based. However, this default also defaults the Iban configuration to a 22-character Irish Iban.
What they need to do is click on the down arrow next to Ireland in that “Country” box and select Lithuania instead. It will then accept the Lithuanian Iban from your Revolut account.
Simple, as I said, but clearly not so widely known. I don’t recall finding the information in any bank marketing campaign. And clearly your clients – or rather their accounting departments who, as you say, would be pretty good at all of this – hadn’t heard it either. It seems the bank, and perhaps other Irish banks, need to better direct people to this information.
However, he puts to bed any suggestion that there is Iban discrimination with the bank and therefore nothing for the Central Bank to worry about. It’s as you would expect for any regulated bank, so it’s certainly a relief that a problem of this magnitude didn’t occur.
However, Iban discrimination is a problem and cases have been reported of employers and companies providing or purchasing services, including utility companies, refusing to accept a foreign Iban. They are absolutely wrong. The Sepa rules state that any Iban that falls between the 14 and 34 character limit is valid and must be accepted in Sepa countries.
If you or anyone else comes across an employer or company that says they only accept an Irish Iban, you should first let them know that they have no discretion in the matter and that they is obliged to accept Ibans from any Sepa State under Article 9. of the Sepa Regulations that you refer to in your question.
If they persist, you must file a formal complaint. Initially, this will be sent in writing to the company concerned. If you get no satisfaction, or even no response, you should report it to the relevant regulator. For consumer complaints or issues affecting businesses such as utility providers, you go to the Competition and Consumer Protection Board. Otherwise, you will need to speak to the Central Bank.
- Please send queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street Dublin 2, or email email@example.com. This column is a reading service and is not intended to replace professional advice