Discrimination at the IBAN: France is the worst student (because of the Social Security)

On the new “acceptmyiban.org” platform, launched last March, stories are multiplying. “We have received a lot of complaints from consumers”, explained a communications manager at Wise, the fintech that joined forces with N26, Klarna, Revolut, SumUp, Starling Bank and Raisin to launch the initiative.

Fighting discrimination at the IBAN is bearing fruit, Wise, specialist in international transfers, wanted to point out to us. After eight months of identifying complaints across Europe, they were able to draw up a first assessment the extent of the scourge, the sectors concerned and the countries most affected. France occupies the worst place. But thanks to the platform, fines amounting to € 375,000 have been issued.

What is discrimination at the IBAN?

In essence, it concerns all situations of refusal of payment or transfer, whose excuse concerns our bank number (IBAN) On this last, the first two letters give the indication of the European country to which the account is referred. French banks offer French IBANs, which start with “FR”, but since the rise of neobanks, it is possible to open an account starting for example with “DE” (Germany) or “LT” (Lithuania).

Since 2016, discrimination at the IBAN has been deemed illegal whereas transfers or payments do not cost more if they refer to a German, Spanish or Lithuanian IBAN. In the SEPA zone, transfers are not qualified as international transfers. The European law of February 1, 2016 (article 9 of European directive n ° 260/2012) stipulates that traders and employers who refuse an IBAN because of the code of the country which is foreign to the national territory, is a violation.

42.5% of discriminatory cases take place in France

The data mentioned by Wise today also come from the various European anti-fraud organizations. In France, the acceptmyiban.org platform worked in close collaboration with the DGCCRF (Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control). In all, France is responsible for 42.5% cases discrimination at the IBAN in Europe.

Pays Discrimination IBAN

© Accept My IBAN

In March 2021, the Accept My IBAN initiative had already warned us. The aim will be to put pressure on “Bad students” for the “Compel to act”. France and Spain were cited among the countries where it was most important to act. Finally, Spain is far behind France, with 17% of IBAN discriminations recorded. Germany comes third, at 14%.

The received idea that we have concerns the actors of this discrimination. Contrary to what one might think, these are not employers or traders. “In France, the main culprit is the public sector”, explained Wise, with 1 in 4 cases. Discrimination at the IBAN in France occurs particularly with the public health and health insurance institution (1 in 8). As you can see below, employers are far from known for refusing to pay an employee to an account from another European country (only 5%).

Telecoms are also very present in discrimination against the IBAN in France. Just like financial services. Indeed, we have often seen traditional banks refuse to send money to neobank bank accounts like Revolut and N26, or even money transfer fintechs like Wise (ex-Transferwise). Behind discrimination at the IBAN can also be hidden conflicts of interest, as you can see.

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