Regulation on bank charges for cross border euro payments adopted

The European Parliament on 13 December adopted, without amendments, the Regulation that states that charges for transactions in euros within the EU should be the same across borders as within a single Member State.

Under the Regulation:

  • From 1 July 2002, charges for withdrawals in euro from cash machines and the use of bank cards (up to 12,500 euro) must be the same for both national and cross-border transactions;
  • From 1 July 2003, the charges for credit transfers in euro (up to 12,500 euro) between bank accounts must be the same for both national and cross-border transactions;
  • Customers must be informed in advance of charges and changes to those prices to make national and cross-border payments;
  • Use of the ISO standard codes becomes mandatory, in order to allow banks to process credit transfers in a fully automated way;
  • Banks will no longer need to declare to the authorities any payment below 12,500 euro;
  • Payments in non-euro currencies will also be subject to the Regulation if the Member States where those currencies are used notify the Commission that they want the rules to apply.

 

European Consumers' Organisation BEUCstates the decision will help to create a real single payment area which consumers expect with the arrival of the euro. As Jim Murray, speaking on behalf of BEUC put it would the Decision have been otherwise "indeed, consumers will find it difficult to understand why they have to pay so much for cross-border payments once they will have the same currency, the Euro, in their pockets".

TheEuropean Banking Federation (EBF)regrets that prices for cross-border banking services are being regulated as "a voluntary commitment by banks, as offered by the EBF, would have been by far better", according to EBF President Mr. Sella.

Internal Market Commissioner Mr Frits Bolkesteinstated "this Regulation ensures that people will benefit fully from the euro when they make payments and withdraw money outside their own country. The Regulation allows reasonable periods for the rules to be applied, but I strongly urge banks to make cross border payments as cheap as national ones as soon as possible, even before the set deadlines."

 

In July 2001 the Commission launched a proposal for a regulation on cross-border payments in euro which will oblige banks in all Member States to levy the same charges for cross-border and domestic payments (seeEURACTIV 25 July 2001) by 2003. This action is part of the Commission's Financial Services Action Plan.

 

  • The Regulation's rules will be extended to cash machine withdrawals, use of bank cards and credit transfers up to 50,000 euro from 1 January 2006.
  • The Regulation is directly applicable in the Member States without national implementing measures.

 

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