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IBAN Discrimination: Bankera Joins the “Accept My IBAN” Coalition to Fight IBAN Discrimination

European Union is a common market for goods and services, which also applies to financial services (including banks). Citizens of EU countries can live and work freely in any member state of the EU. However, not always all payment accounts opened with European financial institutions are treated the same. Sometimes companies or employers request a bank account from the same country as them. For example, a sport club in Spain might only accept Spanish bank account numbers (IBANs). According to European Union law, such practice is known as IBAN discrimination and is illegal.

To fight IBAN discrimination in Europe, several leading European fintechs, including Wise (formerly known as TransferWise), Revolut, N26, bunq and Bankera, have joined their forces to promote the “Accept my IBAN” initiative. It is a joint action to make European institutions aware that IBAN discrimination still exists in the continent and provide a platform for customers to submit complaints regarding IBAN discrimination cases.

What exactly is IBAN discrimination?

The first two letters of an IBAN show the country where the financial institution issuing the account is located. For example, your Bankera IBAN is Lithuanian and looks like this: LTXX XXXX XXXX XXXX (LT stands for Lithuania). However, a Spanish company might insist that you need to have a Spanish account with IBAN like ESXX XXXX XXXX XXXX (ES stands for Spain). In the example, the practice of not accepting non-local (non-Spanish) IBANs is regarded as discrimination.

Is IBAN discrimination legal?

Under European law, as of the 1st of February, 2016 (Article 9 of Regulation No 260/2012), IBAN discrimination is illegal. Companies, including healthcare, utilities, telecom operators to name a few, and employers in the whole European Union are obliged to accept IBANs from other SEPA countries.

What to do in case of IBAN discrimination?

If you experience IBAN discrimination, first, you can always advise the company or the employer not accepting your IBAN that they are obliged to do so under the Article 9 of the SEPA Regulation.

 

Secondly, you can fill a complaint with your local authority responsible for consumer right protection. You can find a list of competent authorities around Europe here

 

Last, you can fill a complaint at the “Accept My IBAN” website by clicking here.

22 December, 2021

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