Sort Code Issues!

Hi Folks, hope you’re well.

I’ve recently opened a Revolut business account and have a Sterling, US Dollar and Yen account.
The bank account details for the account have a IBAN number and SWIFT/BIC but there is no Sort Code.

I’ve a customer from the USA who banks with Wells Fargo who is trying to send me a payment, however his online payment application asks for a Sort Code and without it, he cannot proceed.

I’ve gone out to Support and they say a Sort Code is not required and I do not have one attached to my currency accounts. I tell them a Sort Code is required as without it, Wells Fargo will not accept the payment… I know from experience, the likes of Barclays and Lloyds have Sort Codes for their currency accounts and I’ve never had an issue.

Has anyone found a resolution for this problem? Any advice, hints and tips would be most appreciated. At the moment it seems I can’t get paid!

I’d double check with the customer to make sure they start with the „correct“ form in their banking. You‘re in a catch 22 situation:

Revolut is correct when they claim that a SWIFT transfer in any currency does not rely on sort codes. IBAN and BIC are the two bits of data used for SWIFT.

IBANs are a clever standard that harmonizes national account number and sort code standards. UK IBANs for example are just a different way of writing down the same informations. This is true for most, if not all, countries.

These are the elements of an IBAN in the UK

Country code UK
Checksum, 2 digits, that prevents typos
Bank identifying code
Sort code
Account no.

If you write all these things in one, you‘ve got an IBAN for an account in the UK.

GB29 NWBK 6016 1331 9268 19

This is the sort code part:

GB29 NWBK 6016 1331 9268 19

And this is the account no:

GB29 NWBK 6016 1331 9268 19

So, Revolut support is certainly correct that there‘s no additional information a sort code would provide, and your customer’s bank has indeed all informations necessary for an international SWIFT transfer in any currency supported by the SWIFT network.

You could just look at your IBAN and figure out the sort code yourself. The problem now with Revolut: their payment platform is not your traditional bank account. You‘ve got a multi currency IBAN for example that accepts many currencies. They use an array of third parties to facilitate payments. Customers outside the UK for example are provided with account no. and sort code for local payments in GBP. But their IBAN for the same account might be a Lithuanian, French, Italian … IBAN.

So different to my initial example of how you simply can derive the sort code from a GB IBAN, this does not work with other IBANs that aren’t UK IBANs because how IBANs are constructed is specific for every country. And your customer’s bank most certainly expects only a UK sort code here.

Even if you have an IBAN that starts with GB for your Revolut account, there‘s still the risk that the sort code derived from this IBAN might cause some problems when provided for the transfer because of how Revolut’s payment infrastructure is set up. You could check this: does account no. and sort code match when you compare the details for „local“ and „international“?

I would be hesitant to provide more than what Revolut recommends. And if I would risk it, I would do a test transfer, small sum, and see how it goes.

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