IBAN Discrimination - France

I actively use LT iban, I am satisfied and Revolut is my main bank. However, since I live in France, I sometimes need a FR iban, so when I met with the representative to switch to a FR iban, I got some information and I would like to share it.

Determinations

Iban numbers are defined according to the country in which the bank or electronic money institution operates. I currently have an account with Revolut UAB (Lithuania). I am happy with the services connected to this account. Incoming SWIFT is credited to my account within 2-12 hours, EUR from Lithuanian banks is credited within 30 minutes at the latest. These processes are satisfactory.

However, if I want to switch from Revolut to FR Iban, my Iban changes in my country along with my address. My new account is transferred from REVEOLUT UAB to REVOLUT FRANCE SUCCURSALE DE REVOLUT PAYMENTS UAB. At the same time, my SWIFT code will change from REVOLT21 to REVOFRP2. I would like to experience the effects of this change, but it is not possible to go back to LT after switching to FR. Therefore this decision is irrelevant.

Evaluation, Proposal

I don’t want to be disappointed with my organization, which I like and I like the customer approach culture of the support team.

It is legally possible to have 2 separate accounts in revolut, after meeting the conditions of holding FR or LT at the same time. This is a more global approach. If the infrastructure system requires a huge amount of work to do this, the customer should be able to keep his/her past account and return to it in the future.

  • Revolut LT and FR transaction times need to be reported. For example Revolut LT uses Barclays Bank in the UK for swift transactions. Does wonder Revolut FR use the same correspondent?

  • I have a proven account with Revolut LT and I am happy with the procedure. But is it different at Revolut FR? After all, I don’t want to get stuck in a procedure of the French system. Everyone knows that France works with written documents and is slow.

  • And while I was writing all this, there was a new problem. The agent told me that my request cannot be withdrawn. So how did it happen? While I was talking to support about the request, the agent sent me a link and a confirmation icon popped up and that was it. I was expecting a clear indication of the information I had given you, but that didn’t happen. I hope this topic will be the beginning of a series of developments where we clarify these issues.

With all my respect to the community and to those who serve.

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The French branch is basically just an office, to meet regulatory requirements to issue FR IBANs. (I am exaggerating here, Revolut does probably have people working there with a country manager to improve and adapt services for French customers.) The French branch is not its own bank, it’s still governed by the Lithuanian banking licence.

I see no benefit for Revolut using different intermediaries, for example. (You can check this by going to Revolut’s Website, selecting France, and then “Customer Help”. There’s an FAQ article available that lists intermediaries. It’s important to change country first, some of the FAQ articles are localised.) My assumption is that SWIFT transaction times are going to be in the same ballpark. I am curious if and by what extend it affects local Lithuanian transfers. (SEPA instant transfers are available, too.)

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Frank Hi.
I understand your statement and I agree with you. So Revolut UAB is a financial institution under Lithuanian law and the French branch operates under a Lithuanian license. Even if Revolut is a subsidiary of a bank operating outside of France, is it not obliged to comply with French market rules?

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Lol… UK is no longer part of the EU and therefore not under the IBAN discrimination law. They can discriminate against GB IBANs probably.

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Sure, they must oblige with French law where services offered by the French branch are concerned. It’s a mix. Revolut’s official description is:

Revolut Bank UAB has established a branch in France, Revolut France succursale de Revolut Bank UAB, authorised by the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority with SIREN number 917 420 077 (Paris Commercial register) and whose registered office is at 3 Rue de Stockholm, Patchwork Saint Lazare 75008 Paris, France. We are licensed and regulated by the Bank of Lithuania and the European Central Bank.

But why should they use different intermediaries for SWIFT? My guess is SWIFT transfers won’t take longer. Transfers from local Lithuanian banks might, but I have no idea.

What’s not the case is that Revolut has a French banking licence that would allow them to passport their licence to other EU countries, and offer services by the French entity to other EU customers. This might the reason why they (have to?) limit FR IBANs to French residents. But that’s just a guess.

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and there is the not so insignificant question of fiscal importance to French residents.
When French residents were limited to an LT IBAN, as they were required by the Fisc to report all bank accounts outside of France, this needed to be done (on pain of heavy penalties for non-compliance) but with the French entity that requirement has diminished.
Moreover, irrespective of EU law, IBAN discrimination does occur in France if only for purely practical business purposes since French banking does not allow the customer to withdraw from a Direct Debit mandate of their own volition which is allowed in other jurisdictions, it has be done by the benefactor and in the absence of an FR IBAN, merchants had concerns that contracts would not be performed in the French style and with the lack of confidence in contract performance came the reluctance to embrace non FR IBANs.
And finally, in respect of your comment (have to?) I think that is correct. The Banque de France does have to approve banking facilities to French residents and the approval can be withdrawn in the event of serious banking misdemeanour.

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Benefits for French customers are obvious, yes. The detail I don’t know is if Revolut could under the current legal requirements by French and Lithuanian authorities, issue FR IBANs to non-residents. There are a number of regional services, like local NOK accounts, or a local pooled EUR account for Swiss residents, where Revolut is limited by local regulations.

I am curious if it’s a requirement or a business decision in the case of FR IBANs. I vaguely remember Boon (a Wirecard brand) offering French card accounts to customers outside of France.

(I know that non-residents can open French bank accounts. There could still be an agreement between Revolut and French financial authorities that only French residents are served by the local branch.)

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That is basically true, but AFAIK only applies where the applicant has a property interest in the French State and is able to prove its ownership or a verifiable rental agreement.
I recall my first foray into France and attempting to set up a bank account whilst initially renting a holiday let. This was met with refusal until a more permanent verifiable accommodation was put in place.
This was pre-Brexit of course and may be different now (but I doubt it from what people now say).

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I believe it depends on various things. I know from many colleagues (expats, mainly working for universities, research institutes … ), that it depends on the bank, and sometimes on support from employers. Companies might have agreements with international banks like HSBC or Deutsche Bank, which allow expats to open bank accounts before they arrive, and with better conditions, like no extra fees for a credit card, for example.

Banks often deny opening accounts for foreigners, but not because they’re restricted by law. They often don’t want to.

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Yeah, that’s exactly what we saw. Where do you access this information?

I don’t think they have any legal responsibility for the FR iban. If we make a judgment based on Revolut’s approach to the French market. If Bunq from the Netherlands can provide 5 ibans, it is inevitable to think that Revolut’s use of a single iban is a choice.

We can evaluate Revolut and Bunq relatively in France. Bunq, based in the Netherlands, allows you to create sub-IBANs with the names of the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and Ireland. So there is no legal obstacle if this is done by Bunq.

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From Bunq‘s website:

The French IBAN is available for all bunqers residing in France, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion

Same is true for German IBANs, they’re available only to German residents. Bunq registered a branch in Germany to do this. Sounds like the same limitations to me.

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