Friday, 21 March 2014

Easy money

As we have mentioned previously the European Commission and the European Parliament have been working hard together in the past years on ensuring that EU citizens had an easier access to a basic bank account (see, e.g.: Basic bank accounts for all). In order to participate in most economic transactions nowadays, consumers need a payment account. Therefore, it was vital to secure such procedures of setting up these accounts that would be transparent and easily manoeuvrable, as well as to make sure that consumers could switch their bank accounts without incurring unreasonable costs - so that the banking market could become more competitive, hopefully offering better terms to consumers. Yesterday the Council and the MEPs agreed on the final version of these rules, which means that upon the vote of the European Parliament in April the new law could become reality. (Parliament and Council agree on basic bank accounts for all

As a result of these new provisions, EU citizens could not be denied by a bank access to opening a basic payment account - to which they could pay in and withdraw cash from without fee or for a reasonable fee - in a country where they could show they had an interest of doing so (burden of proof should not be set too high). Fees' information should be standardized and transparent, with at least one independent website per country offering clear comparisons of fees charged by various banks. It remains, though, to be seen what form this standardized information will take and what its effects (its level of transparency) will be.

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