Fintech operator Revolut is to offer fully localised bank account details to more than two million customers in Ireland in the coming months, after setting up an Irish branch of its European business in the Republic.
As it stands, customers in this State are issued with a Lithuanian Iban. By switching to a localised account identifier, Revolut said it would end the “discrimination” experienced here by users here, citing examples of employers and service providers refusing to accept an Iban from a different country.
The fintech said the change would make Revolut accounts more localised to this State and “better suited to use as a primary account” into which salaries could be paid and direct debits set up.
While Iban discrimination is supposed to be illegal, Darragh Cassidy, of price comparison website bonkers.ie, said there had been “numerous reports over the years of consumers having difficulty setting up direct debits and standing orders with utility providers if they had a non-Irish Iban”.
Revolut, which has more than 25 million customers globally, offers accounts backed by a deposit guarantee of up to €100,000 for customers in Ireland. One of its unique selling points is free and instant peer-to-peer transfers, which is hugely popular, particularly among a younger cohort.
Revolut’s Irish “branch” is distinct from a high-street bank branch with counter service. It will employ a small number of senior staff who will be responsible for the firm’s operations here, with services provided by Revolut’s European Bank that is based in Vilnius and licensed by the European Central Bank and supervised by the Bank of Lithuania.
A spokesman for the fintech said customers would be given two months’ notice that their accounts were being moved into the Irish branch and would also be notified once the migration was complete.
Mr Cassidy said the news would be “warmly welcomed” by Revolut’s customers in Ireland.
“Two of the main things holding Revolut back from consumers adopting it as their main bank account were the lack of a bank guarantee and the use of non-Irish Ibans,” he said. “The first issue was addressed early last year when Revolut officially became a bank in Ireland. Deposits of up to €100,000 are now protected by the Lithuanian bank guarantee scheme.
And now the second issue has been addressed.”
He noted that Revolut accounts lack an overdraft facility and said they were “generally not suitable for those who prefer to use cash over card payments”.
He added that there continue to be “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”.