Employers, service firms and utilities have been warned by the Central Bank of Ireland not to discriminate against people whose current account provider uses a non-Irish bank account number.
BAN (International Bank Account Number) discrimination has become an issue across Europe as an increasing number of firms provide services on a Europe-wide basis.
Payment providers Revolut and N26 use non-Irish IBANs and account holders often find that their employer or utility provider declines payment requests.
Revolut uses a Lithuanian IBAN, while the N26 has a German one.
Some users of the In Money app find that employers and pension providers will not pay them, while some service firms do not recognize IBANs for out-of-state payment providers.
The Central Bank said it was writing to all regulated financial service providers in the state, businesses and professional representative bodies to remind firms of their obligations under the Single European Payments Area Initiative (SEPA).
The SEPA Payment Service allows customers to make cashless Euro payments to firms and individuals anywhere within the SEPA region using their IBAN.
The Central Bank stated that refusing to accept non-Irish IBANs within the SEPA area is prohibited under SEPA rules, and is known as IBAN discrimination.
IBAN discrimination creates difficulties for Irish and European consumers, and creates barriers to the proper functioning of our payment system.
William Molloy, Director of Financial Operations at the Central Bank, said: “Providers and facilitators of SEPA credit transfer and direct debit services should be aware of their obligations under SEPA.
“These obligations apply to all organizations, including regulated financial services firms, businesses and state organizations.
“Consumers should be able to free their payment service provider (PSP) from the worries of facing problems while using their valid payment account details,” Mr. Molloy said.
Darragh Cassidy of price comparison site Bonkers.ie said IBAN discrimination isn’t as bad as it was, but it’s still very much an issue in Ireland and has been for years.
“This is a hindrance and an obstacle to competition in the Irish banking sector and we need strong action to stamp it out,” he said.
The intervention by the central bank comes a day after the state’s competition watchdog gave approval by retail banks here to set up a money-transfer app to rival Revolut.
Sync Payment System aims to allow instant person-to-person payments on mobile phones.
It is understood that the name of the payment app will be Yippay.