An electronic payment system called Chipknip has been introduced in the Netherlands and in many retailing locations, vending machines and parking meters is now the only accepted means of payment. Chipknip cards are valid only in The Netherlands and can be reloaded only through Dutch bank accounts. Prepaid Chipknip cards, which cannot be re-used, are sold for EUR 3.50 commission to people who do not have a bank account in The Netherlands. Any remaining credit on the card can be redeemed only onto a Dutch bank account paying an additional commission of EUR 1.50. Such cards are only sold in limited locations during business hours.
The refusal to accept any other means of payment than Chipknip, including cash, in the Netherlands causes tourists and EU residents who travel across borders for work severe difficulties in paying for their goods and services.
1. Is the Commission aware of such restrictions on choice of means of payment in the Member States?
2. Does the Commission agree that such national restrictions on choice of means of payment may have serious implications on the effectiveness of the single market, in particular by creating obstacles to the free movement of services and to the free movement of capital?
3. Does the Commission plan to take action to tackle the restrictions on the acceptance of means of payment in the EU or in the Single Currency Area?
4. Does the Commission plan to put forward common binding rules on the acceptance of means of payment in the EU and in the Common Currency Area?
5. Which actions does the Commission foresee to protect citizens from unfair fees on retail payment services, such as the ones charged for prepaid Chipknip cards?