Notice for British expatriates in receipt of UK pensions and benefits

The British embassy in Rome has released the following information for British expatriates in receipt of UK pensions and benefit payments.

Don't lose out on your UK pension or benefit payments

British nationals who receive UK pensions and benefits may soon be contacted by the Department of Work & Pensions to confirm their international bank details.

From 31 January 2014, the Department for Work & Pensions will need an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and a Bank Identification Code (BIC – also sometimes called a SWIFT code) in order to make payments to accounts in Italy and other Eurozone countries.

This change is due to new European Union regulations that aim to make payments between EU countries faster and more secure.

The Department for Work & Pensions already holds IBAN and BIC details for most customers. But expatriates for whom they do not yet have these details will soon receive a letter asking for them.

If you receive such a letter, you should complete the attached form and return it to the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) as soon as possible, say DWP officials. You can get your IBAN and BIC details from your bank account statement or directly from your bank.

Bank customers will not be asked to provide any further details of their accounts, such as passwords. It is only the IBAN and BIC details that are required.

Failure to respond to the letter may mean your payments will be stopped, because after 31 January banks in Eurozone countries will not accept direct payments without these details.

Expatriates need to provide additional bank details only if they receive payments into a Eurozone account outside the United Kingdom, and have received a letter from the DWP. Those whose pension or benefit is paid into a UK account, or whose IBAN and BIC/SWIFT codes are already known to DWP, are unaffected by this change in EU regulations.

Pensions and benefits recipients who have changed address and not yet informed the DWP are also being reminded to contact the International Pension Centre in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 00441912187777 to make sure their details are up to date.

For more information about the change to European bank account numbers, you can visit the European Commission website.