The Central Bank is to write to all regulated financial-services firms to remind them of their obligations under the Single European Payments Area initiative (SEPA).
This move is in response to continued incidents in which some firms refuse to accept non-Irish IBANs (international bank account numbers) for payments.
SEPA allows customers to make cashless euro payments to firms and individuals anywhere within the SEPA area using their IBAN.
Refusing to accept non-Irish IBANs within the SEPA area, known as IBAN discrimination, is prohibited under the SEPA regulations.
The Central Bank says that IBAN discrimination creates difficulties for Irish and European consumers, and raises barriers to the proper functioning of the payment system.
SEPA includes all 27 EU countries, the UK, and eight other European countries.
William Molloy (the regulator’s director of financial operations) said that SEPA obligations applied to all organisations – including regulated financial-services firms, businesses and State organisations.
“Consumers should be able to choose their payment-service provider (PSP) free from concerns about encountering problems when using their legitimate payment account details,” said Molloy.
He stressed that vigilance in ensuring full compliance with these obligations was especially important in the context of the pending exits of Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland from the Irish retail-banking sector.
“As a result of these exits, a large number of customers will be required to relocate their payment accounts to another PSP, and it is important that those customers who choose to use a PSP with a non-Irish IBAN are supported in doing so,” Molloy stated.