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MEPs Support Basic Bank Account For All EU Residents


The European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee amended a draft law on September 18, 2013 to ensure that all legal residents of the European Union have access to a basic payments account, regardless of nationality or place of residence. The committee also maintains that the fees and rules for the accounts should be transparent and comparable.

The text of the amendment, which secured a large majority in favor, will be subject to a plenary vote in December and will then be fine-tuned with EU member states.

"The payment accounts directive will represent considerable progress for consumers in most EU member states. Banks should not be entitled to exclude citizens from society by denying them access to regular payment services. In times where banks are forced to look for profit in retail banking, it is also vital to enable consumers to compare fees and switch accounts easily when they find better offers," said MEP Jürgen Klute.

The amendment will require all EU member states to ensure that no individual with a "genuine link" to a member state can be denied access to a payments account which allows consumers to deposit and withdraw cash and conduct payment transactions within the EU. It also stipulates that the fee structure of every payment account should be clear and comparable with offers from other payment service providers.