Payment accounts: a rush to reach a deal

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The EBF prudently welcomed the trilogue deal reached on 20 March on making bank accounts accessible to everyone and increasing transparency on bank charges in Europe.
While being supportive of the objectives of the proposal to strengthen transparency, to combat financial exclusion and to facilitate participation of consumers in the internal market; Europe’s banks are rather concerned over the speed with which this proposal is adopted, rushing before the end of this parliamentary term.

Progress have been achieved and the EBF supports competition elements which encourage consumers to shop around for the best deals. Banks are however concerned that the proposal does not fully reflect the reality of retail banking and does not take into account the true needs of consumers. The directive could adversely affect the functioning of existing national banking systems. Access to a bank account with basic features still seems not sufficiently calibrated. In addition, bank account product offers should be subject to normal competition principles as enshrined in the EU treaties.

The EBF welcomes the requirements of switching services at national level. This confirms the industry self-commitments that were based on common principles of the European Banking Industry Committee.

The requirements for cross-border switching have been rightly removed from the final agreement. Indeed, imposing a switching system at a cross-border level would have created significant operational challenges. Infrastructure would need to be developed to allow the exchange of information and data between banks in different countries, and issues such as languages and currencies would also have to be carefully considered.

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