SEPA and IBAN discrimination
SEPA stands for Single Euro Payments Area. The aim of SEPA is to ensure that everyone can pay across Europe. So you can make payments abroad just as fast, easily and safely as in your own country. Does a firm or organisation not accept your foreign bank account number? If this is the case, you could be the victim of IBAN discrimination.
Thanks to SEPA, everyone across Europe can make payments in euros. SEPA offers a single efficient infrastructure for all non-cash payments in euros using uniform standards for accounts (IBAN), European credit transfers and European direct debits. Within SEPA you can pay as easily and safely as in your own country. This means there is no distinction between domestic and cross-border non-cash payments. To get where we are now, the technical, legal and commercial barriers between the payment markets of participating countries have been removed since the establishment of SEPA in 2008. The European Central Bank (ECB), De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and other national central banks in Europe continue to promote the further integration of and competition in the European payment market. SEPA has been enshrined in law in the European SEPA Regulation for European Economic Area (EEA) countries.
SEPA does not only apply to countries that have adopted the euro. There are 36 European countries participating in SEPA, including some countries that are not part of the euro area, the European Union or the European Economic Area (EEA), such as the United Kingdom and Norway.
Does a Dutch firm or organisation not accept your foreign European bank account number? If this is the case, you could be the victim of account discrimination, also known as IBAN discrimination. You can report this to our registration centre for IBAN discrimination.
What is IBAN discrimination?
IBAN discrimination occurs when payment is refused because the bank account is held in another European country. This may be contrary to laws and regulations, as it is mandatory to accept account numbers from all EEA countries. The registration centre for IBAN discrimination was set up in 2014, and our helpline has been available since then to tackle IBAN discrimination and resolve complaints.
Report IBAN discrimination
To deal with your complaint, please complete the form to report IBAN discrimination. We will then follow up on your report.
Consequences of IBAN discrimination
Since 20 January 2020, we may impose a penalty payment or a fine in the event of IBAN discrimination. We comply with the GDPR privacy rules when dealing with your complaint.
What businesses and government institutions can do
Business and government institutions must set up their administrative IT systems so that they can also process IBANs from other SEPA countries. Examples are web forms, accounting systems and customer systems. Are the systems not yet set up for this? Then a solution in the meantime could be to process foreign IBANs manually, for example through customer service. It may also help if organisations can offer their customers various payment methods.
Frequently asked questions
You can lodge a complaint with the relevant firm or institution. They should resolve your complaint. Is this not the case? Please report your complaint to our registration centre for IBAN discrimination.
No. The ban only covers payments or direct debits from the payment account.
Report your complaint to the national authority concerned. You can consult a list of these national authorities in all countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) here.
Yes, it is. An IBAN is discriminated against if it is rejected because the bank account is being held in another European country. This may be contrary to laws and regulations. That is because it is compulsory to accept account numbers from all EEA countries.
The ban on IBAN discrimination is set out in a European regulation. This is the SEPA Regulation (EU 260/2012). It is intended to ensure the smooth functioning of the European payments market. So that anyone with IBAN can make cross-border euro payments or receive money as fast as in their own country.
DNB may impose a cease and desist order or an administrative fine for a breach of the SEPA Regulation.