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Liberté, Egalité, IBANité

An IBAN can start with DE, FR, ES, IT, or any other valid first 2 letters. So-called “IBAN discrimination” is forbidden. We explain why your N26 IBAN should be accepted across Europe.

1 min read

When you open a N26 bank account, you’ll receive a German International Bank Account Number (IBAN) starting with “DE” and followed by a series of digits.

As we expand across Europe we’re learning a lot from our users in different countries. One user concern that has occasionally surfaced is that some merchants outside of Germany have refused to accept a German IBAN for account transfers. L’horreur!

Now, we’d like to believe that most merchants or employers who have pushed back on a foreign IBAN don’t do this because of bad intentions. They might, rather, simply be misinformed. Because not accepting a foreign IBAN is actually a violation of European law. Vraiment! An IBAN can start with DE, FR, ES, IT, or any other valid first 2 letters. So-called “IBAN discrimination” is forbidden.

Merchants in the SEPA region are obliged to accept any SEPA country IBAN. So are SEPA region employers (for deposits to your salary account).

When all is said and done, we’d propose that the spirit of the DE in your N26 IBAN be thought of as meaning Deeply European. Because opening up a N26 account gives you Europe-wide flexibility: no matter where you might travel or move in the SEPA zone, you won’t have to change bank accounts.

As another way to sum up our perspective and the law, here’s a respectful tip of the hat to a rallying cry used long ago by some other revolutionaries: Liberté, Egalité, IBANité

The next time you look at your N26 IBAN, we hope you’ll truly feel Deeply European.

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