9

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Cross-border euro transfers and currency conversions: A step forward in favour of the single market

29-04-2019

Cross-border payments are crucial for the integration of the EU economy, and play an important role in ensuring that citizens and enterprises from all EU Member States enjoy the same rights offered by the single market. Since the introduction of the euro, the EU has launched various initiatives to reduce the cost of cross-border transactions, among them a set of single euro payments area (SEPA) standards, regulations on cross-border payments, and the Payment Services Directives. Nevertheless, cross-border ...

Cross-border payments are crucial for the integration of the EU economy, and play an important role in ensuring that citizens and enterprises from all EU Member States enjoy the same rights offered by the single market. Since the introduction of the euro, the EU has launched various initiatives to reduce the cost of cross-border transactions, among them a set of single euro payments area (SEPA) standards, regulations on cross-border payments, and the Payment Services Directives. Nevertheless, cross-border euro payments made in non-euro-area Member States are still subject to high fees. Furthermore, when paying with a card or making an ATM withdrawal in a country using a currency other than the euro, it is almost impossible to know exactly how much it is going to cost. On 28 March 2018, the European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 on cross-border payments. Working through the legislative process, Parliament and Council reached agreement on an amended text, published in the Official Journal on 19 March 2019. The new regulation will make cross-border payments in euros cheaper across the entire EU, while also bringing more transparency to currency-conversion practices. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Levelling off European cross-border payments in euros

09-07-2018

While the overall argument in favour of cheaper cross-border payments across the euro and non-euro Member States appears sensible, this impact assessment could have been stronger in terms of discussing the specifics of the financial infrastructure in non-euro Member States and the shortcomings of the cross-border payments market related to these specifics. A more detailed comparison of options including the economic impacts (particularly as related to SMEs) would have been helpful, as would be a ...

While the overall argument in favour of cheaper cross-border payments across the euro and non-euro Member States appears sensible, this impact assessment could have been stronger in terms of discussing the specifics of the financial infrastructure in non-euro Member States and the shortcomings of the cross-border payments market related to these specifics. A more detailed comparison of options including the economic impacts (particularly as related to SMEs) would have been helpful, as would be a more substantiated analysis of the feasibility of the envisaged monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

PSD2/Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) on Strong Customer Authentication and Secure Communication, and IFR/RTS on separation of payment card schemes and processing entities

22-11-2017

The monthly scrutiny slot at the ECON meeting of 21 November 2017 focued on the Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) specifying the requirements on strong customer authentication and common and secure communication under PSD2 which the Commission is about to adopt. These RTS have been previously discussed in ECON scrutiny slots and are the most sensitive PSD2 level-2 measure on which the industry has voiced concerns. The end of the session was dedicated to the RTS on separation of payment card schemes ...

The monthly scrutiny slot at the ECON meeting of 21 November 2017 focued on the Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) specifying the requirements on strong customer authentication and common and secure communication under PSD2 which the Commission is about to adopt. These RTS have been previously discussed in ECON scrutiny slots and are the most sensitive PSD2 level-2 measure on which the industry has voiced concerns. The end of the session was dedicated to the RTS on separation of payment card schemes and processing entities under Article 7(6) of the Interchange Fees Regulation (IFR) which has recently been adopted - also with changes in regard to the draft of the EBA. Representatives from the Commission, EBA and ECB have been invited to the meeting.

Cross-border payments in the European Union

06-10-2017

The European single market for payments is based on the idea of providing safer and more innovative payment services across the EU. To this end, the European institutions are working on establishing rules and tools to make payment services easier and to foster competition. The aim is to guarantee common standards in all Member States, efficient, faster and diversified types of payment, and consumer protection. The EU has already put several legislative tools in place, has established common criteria ...

The European single market for payments is based on the idea of providing safer and more innovative payment services across the EU. To this end, the European institutions are working on establishing rules and tools to make payment services easier and to foster competition. The aim is to guarantee common standards in all Member States, efficient, faster and diversified types of payment, and consumer protection. The EU has already put several legislative tools in place, has established common criteria and requirements, and provided alternatives (such as e-money) to 'traditional' payment channels. 'Payment services' mean those defined by the EU legislation in the field, and cover common tools and standards for cross-border payments (SEPA), and also e-money services. This Implementation Appraisal deals with cross-border payments and, more specifically, with Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 in the context of the planned European Commission review. Eight years after its entry into force, the Commission has announced its intention to extend its scope to non-euro currencies.

Level-2 measures on draft RTS under IFR (Interchange Fees Regulation)

20-06-2017

This briefing has been drawn up to support ECON’s work on the scrutiny of delegated acts, in particular as regards the discussion of 20 June 2017 on the draft European Banking Authority (EBA) RTS under Regulation (EU) 2015/751 on interchange fees for card-based payment transactions (IFR) . The empowerment for the adoption of the RTS – introduced following an amendment by the European Parliament – is the only empowerment for a level 2 measure under the IFR.

This briefing has been drawn up to support ECON’s work on the scrutiny of delegated acts, in particular as regards the discussion of 20 June 2017 on the draft European Banking Authority (EBA) RTS under Regulation (EU) 2015/751 on interchange fees for card-based payment transactions (IFR) . The empowerment for the adoption of the RTS – introduced following an amendment by the European Parliament – is the only empowerment for a level 2 measure under the IFR.

Interchange fees for card-based payment transactions

27-02-2015

Card-based payments have a growing share of retail payments, as do non-cash payments in both e-commerce and traditional commerce. There are different types of cards, according to their characteristics (debit and credit) and their holders (consumer and commercial). Card schemes are set up as four-party or three-party schemes providing a framework for schemes' fees and rules. Using cards for payments generates costs, which are distributed in the form of fees among the participants in the scheme. Interchange ...

Card-based payments have a growing share of retail payments, as do non-cash payments in both e-commerce and traditional commerce. There are different types of cards, according to their characteristics (debit and credit) and their holders (consumer and commercial). Card schemes are set up as four-party or three-party schemes providing a framework for schemes' fees and rules. Using cards for payments generates costs, which are distributed in the form of fees among the participants in the scheme. Interchange fees are designed to cover a portion of these costs and they are paid by the merchant's bank to the cardholder's bank, per transaction. In the European Union (EU), the payment services framework is currently under review to take account of developments in the payments area. The current review specifically addresses interchange fees for card-based payments in a separate legislative instrument. The interchange fees associated with four-party schemes raise concerns, for reasons which include their varying levels across the EU, their influence on prices and their impact on new entrants on the card market. So far, antitrust authorities have assessed whether specific agreements were anticompetitive or not, and whether they could be accepted or whether commitments to adapt the schemes would be sufficient to make them compatible. The proposal for a regulation addresses interchange fees at EU level through regulatory means, providing for capping of the interchange fees for cross-border and domestic transactions (after a transitional period) and laying down schemes' business rules. Parliament and Council reached agreement on the proposal in December.

Consumer Protection Aspects of Financial Services

10-02-2014

Inadequate consumer protection, especially in the U.S. mortgage market, not only led to considerable consumer detriment but was a major contributor to the global financial crisis. In the EU, mis-selling of financial products has also resulted in significant consumer harm. Considering the significant potential detriment that financial services can cause to individual consumers and to the Single Market, consumer protection policy needs to properly focus on this area. Improved transparency and better ...

Inadequate consumer protection, especially in the U.S. mortgage market, not only led to considerable consumer detriment but was a major contributor to the global financial crisis. In the EU, mis-selling of financial products has also resulted in significant consumer harm. Considering the significant potential detriment that financial services can cause to individual consumers and to the Single Market, consumer protection policy needs to properly focus on this area. Improved transparency and better informed transactions resulting from such policy will lead to better solutions for consumers and greater market efficiency. A number of recommendations to strengthen consumer protection in the area of financial services are put forward in this study.

External author

Patrice Muller, Shaan Devnani, Richard Heys and James Suter (London Economics)

Payment Accounts: Initial Appraisal of the Commission's Impact Assessment

15-10-2013

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying its proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the comparability of fees related to payment accounts, payment account switching and access to payment accounts with basic features (COM (2013) 266 final), submitted by the Commission in May 2013. It analyses whether the principal criteria laid down in the Commission’s own Impact ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying its proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the comparability of fees related to payment accounts, payment account switching and access to payment accounts with basic features (COM (2013) 266 final), submitted by the Commission in May 2013. It analyses whether the principal criteria laid down in the Commission’s own Impact Assessment Guidelines, as well as additional factors identified by the Parliament in its Impact Assessment Handbook, appear to be met by the IA. It does not attempt to deal with the substance of the proposal.

Integrating the EU's electronic payments market

16-11-2012

The growing electronic payments market is to a large extent fragmented along national borders. The European Commission (EC) held a public consultation to identify ways to complete its integration into a single market. Responses reflect the opposing views of market incumbents and new entrants, and of payment-service providers and merchants.

The growing electronic payments market is to a large extent fragmented along national borders. The European Commission (EC) held a public consultation to identify ways to complete its integration into a single market. Responses reflect the opposing views of market incumbents and new entrants, and of payment-service providers and merchants.

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