Central Bank of Ireland urges firms to prevent IBAN discrimination
The Central Bank of Ireland has written to all Regulated Financial Service Providers in the country, and a range of business and professional representative bodies, to remind firms of their obligations under the Single European Payments Area initiative (SEPA).
SEPA allows payment service customers to make cashless euro payments to firms and individuals anywhere within the SEPA area using their International Bank Account Number (IBAN). Refusing to accept non-Irish IBANs within the SEPA area is prohibited under the SEPA regulations, and is known as IBAN discrimination. IBAN discrimination creates difficulties for Irish and European consumers, and raises barriers to the proper functioning of our payment system.
Director of Financial Operations William Molloy said
“Providers and facilitators of SEPA credit transfer and direct debit services must be aware of their obligations under SEPA. These obligations apply to all organisations including regulated financial services firms, businesses and State organisations. Consumers should be able to choose their Payment Service Provider (PSP) free from concerns about encountering problems when using their legitimate payment account details.
The SEPA regulations create a single market for consumers which supports choice and facilitates innovation in payments. Firms should take any actions required to achieve full compliance with the SEPA regulations, thereby preventing cases of IBAN discrimination from occurring at the outset.
The Central Bank is the competent authority in Ireland for the purposes of SEPA, other than when a payment is made between a consumer and a trader. In these instances, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is the competent authority in the State. The Central Bank and CCPC work together as appropriate to ensure mutual co-operation in the interests of consumers, employees and other payments stakeholders.