In a welcome move, Revolut is to start offering its customers here Irish IBANs, which should make it far easier for users to do all their day-to-day-banking with the fintech.
For years, Irish Revolut customers haven't had an Irish IBAN (international bank account number), which has caused difficulties for some trying to get paid into their account or set up direct debits and standing orders in Ireland.
At first, users had a UK IBAN. And then after Brexit, users got given a Lithuanian IBAN when Revolut gained its European banking licence as well as its e-money licence from the Central Bank of Lithuania.
But this will change over the next few months as Revolut has announced that all of its Irish banking customers will be migrating over to Irish IBANs.
This is due to Revolut adding an Irish offshoot to its European bank, Revolut UAB, which is headquartered and registered in Lithuania.
What prompted Revolut’s decision?
Ever since Revolut launched as a bank in Ireland in March of 2022, it has promised customers that they'd eventually be given Irish IBANs to make it easier to do their day-to-day banking here.
It originally gave a timeframe of sometime in 2022, and although Revolut hasn't exactly lived up to its promise, January of 2023 isn’t a bad compromise!
An Irish IBAN has long been requested by Irish users because although it has technically been possible to use Revolut as your main bank account, it hasn't always been easy due to IBAN discrimination...
What is IBAN discrimination?
You may have heard of IBAN discrimination before. It occurs when an employer, utility provider or bank won’t accept a foreign IBAN, or requires a customer to submit extra paper work to set up a payment like a direct debit.
This was made illegal under the Single Euro Payments Area initiative (SEPA), a process that was implemented in 2014 for EU countries and 2016 for non-EU countries.
Every Eurozone country is included within SEPA, as well as a number of non-EU countries, like the UK, Norway and Switzerland. In total, 36 countries have signed up to SEPA.
In essence, this means that any SEPA qualifying citizen should be able to work and live in another SEPA country and be paid into their native bank account if they wish.
It also makes cashless transactions between two SEPA countries supposedly seamless - cashless transactions take no more than one business day to process, and every bank uses the same functions for these transactions.
However, sometimes a foreign IBAN isn’t accepted - this could be down to an online process that only accounts for Irish IBANs in their character count (IBANs have a different amount of numbers depending on the country they’re set up in) or an entity may not be aware of SEPA regulations. It can also be caused by out-dated payroll systems that don't recognise an account that doesn't start with IE.
Regardless of the reasons, IBAN discrimination has long been a stick to beat Revolut with, as it has discouraged some users from using Revolut as their main bank account. While the process of using Revolut’s Lithuanian IBAN can (usually) be solved with a quick phone call, this can be burdensome and time consuming.
So, the news that Revolut is switching to Irish IBANs is a positive step for those wanting to use its services for their main banking needs.
Revolut also says that customers with an Irish IBAN can:
- Avoid the extra paperwork involved with non-local IBANs
- Get their salary paid directly into their Revolut account without any hassle
- Pay utility bills straight from their Revolut accounts
When is the switch happening?
No definitive date has been given by Revolut in regards to when the transition will begin, but the company said in an email sent out to customers this morning that they'll be migrated in a "phased manner, approximately two months from the date of this email".
Customers don't need to take any action to get their new Irish IBAN and they'll be notified when their account has been switched over.
The good news is that after the switch there will be a two-month grace period during which both the old Lithuanian IBAN and the new Irish IBAN will still be active. This will give customers more time and flexibility to update their direct debit and payroll account information.
However, as Revolut customers will now have new account details, they'll need to update any direct debit, standing order, payroll or social welfare payments that use their existing Revolut IBAN in that two-month timeframe. Bear in mind that this can be a time-consuming exercise.
If you are looking for a handy tool to switch over your bank details for free, read our explainer on SwitchAgent, an automated tool that significantly reduces the time spent changing over current account details.
As well as the change to IBANs, Irish Revolut customers will now be governed and protected by more Irish laws and procedures. For example:
- Most of a customer's banking and payment services will come through Revolut's Irish branch.
- Irish AML/KYC rules (Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer rules) will apply to Irish Revolut accounts.
- An Irish customer's Personal Terms will be governed by Irish law, instead of Lithuanian law.
- If you have a complaint that you can't get resolved with Revolut, you can now deal with the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman in Ireland, rather than have to go through the Bank of Lithuania.
Read more about Revolut
Nearly two million people in Ireland now use Revolut, so if you’re looking to read more, you’re in the right place.
Learn more about the pros and cons of using Revolut as your main bank account.
To find out whether your money is safe with Revolut, read our explainer here.
And for a head-to-head battle between Revolut and its competitor N26, head on over here.
Compare bank accounts on bonkers.ie
A Revolut account isn’t perfect of course. There is no overdraft facility and it’s generally not suitable for those who prefer to use cash over card payments. And there are still issues with people getting wrongly frozen out of their accounts (for suspected fraud or money laundering) and then having trouble contacting someone to get the account unlocked.
If you want to find the best current account for your own individual needs, head on over to our current account comparison tool, where you can compare all of the current account options from all the main providers.