What to do in the event of IBAN discrimination?

Monese, N26, etc. These players have published a help page on their site to absolve themselves of responsibility for the problem of IBAN discrimination. It would appear that in France, this phenomenon of exclusion concerns a significant proportion of neobanks, most of which are foreign companies.

What does IBAN discrimination mean?

IBAN discrimination occurs whena merchant, employer or any other member company of the Single Euro Payments Area or SEPA zone refuses a user's bank details. Among the main reasons for this refusal is the fear of possible fraud, but also the impossibility of being overdrawn. Indeed, some players, including Nickel, have made overdrafting impossible, which can be problematic for direct debits.

However, regulations are very clear on this subject: all IBANs are the same, regardless of their country of origin. In other words, French companies are obliged to accept a user's compatible bank details for direct debits and credit transfers. In practice, this rule is not always applied. In a recent decision addressed to Bouygues Telecom, the Défenseur des droits reminded us that refusing to accept a customer's bank details is a form of discrimination. In this case, 16 complaints had been lodged by consumers who had tried to open a line with the telephone operator, but had been refused because of the IBAN provided for direct debit. Bouygues Telecom has since rectified the situation.

Neo-banks call for denunciation of holdouts

Several neobanks are encouraging their customers to report companies that refuse to accept their bank details on the grounds that the IBAN provided is foreign. In addition to being illegal, this practice is inconvenient for users, who can neither receive their salary nor pay their bills. N26 advises users to take their case directly to "the competent national authority".

Pending clarification of the situation by the public authorities, foreign mobile banks are considering offering French RIBs. Anytime already offers this solution. For the time being, neobanks that still issue foreign RIBs include : Sogexia, N26 and Bunq. So, if you have an account with one of these neobanks and are faced with an act of IBAN discrimination, start by reminding the organization concerned of what current legislation stipulates, and in particular Article 9 of European Directive n°260/2012. If this fails, a complaint can be lodged with the DGCCRF(Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes).