I decided to ‘invest’ in some Prize Bonds earlier in the year as I had money that I wouldn’t need for several months. When I went to buy the bonds in the post office by N26 debit card was initially rejected although after a bit of back and forth with An Post it then worked once they updated their BIN database. I opted to receive any prizes by Bank Transfer to my N26 account and they accepted the German IBAN when buying online.
I was lucky enough to win a €50 prize and expected to see the funds in my bank account in around a week but they never arrived. After I got home from travelling I saw a cheque waiting from Prize Bonds. I emailed Prize Bonds stating that I requested prizes to be paid by Bank Transfer and could they arrange to transfer the money to my bank account. I included my German IBAN in the email. They told me to return the cheque and they would complete a bank transfer to my account.
I didn’t hear back for about a week so I sent a follow up email. The reply was quite generic “I can confirm that a member of our Customer Services section is currently working on your request and will be in touch with you by post in due course. I apologise for the delay and will mark your case as urgent right away.”
A few days later I received a letter from Prize Bonds which contained the original cheque and a note saying “We wish to advise that Electronic Funds Transfers for Prizes can only be processed for accounts within the Republic of Ireland” I am not sure of the reasoning for this – it could be a technology issue similar to Leap Card or its an agreement with the NTMA that prizes must be ‘kept within Ireland’.
Either way it’s quite annoying and should change. More and more people in Ireland are banking with non-Irish banks and will then have a non-Irish IBAN. Thankfully I still have another Irish bank account which I can lodge cheques to but it’s not ideal and not everyone will have this option.
I don’t understand why they allow you to enter a non-Irish IBAN to receive prizes to when purchasing more Prize Bonds online, why they don’t mention this requirement in the FAQ or why when I provided my IBAN during the email exchange they didn’t let me know then. It’s very saver-unfriendly although I’d imagine they wouldn’t be too upset if the number of people holding Prize Bonds reduce due to the cheaper alternatives available for the government to borrow.