Cross-border euro transfers to get cheaper from 1 July

Effective 1 July 2003, the charges on cross-border bank transfers in euro among the EU Member States will equal those on domestic transfers.

The measure is being introduced in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 on cross-border payments in euros, which establishes the principle of equal charges for domestic and cross-border payments. Since July 2002 the rule has been applied to bank card payments and withdrawals from cash machines. From 1 July, it will also apply to bank transfers of up to 12,500 euro made between two euro accounts within the EU. This limit will be raised to 50,000 euro on 1 January 2006. To qualify for equal charges, customers must provide their bank with the beneficiary's IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and BIC (Bank Identifier Code). From 1 July 2003, all bank statements will show the account holder's IBAN and BIC. Firms engaged in cross-border business will be required to indicate these codes on their invoices.

According to Commission estimates, customers are currently charged an average 17.60 euro when they transfer 100 euro across EU countries. "The advantages of the single currency should benefit everyone: that is the aim of the regulation", Commission President Romano Prodi said.


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