EU regulates payment services, account fees

BRUSSELS, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Consumers are guaranteed access to basic payment services and information on fees related to payment accounts, foreign ministers of the European Union (EU) Wednesday decided.

The new rule adopted by the Council of EU will enable consumers to make informed choices when opening a payment account and eliminate residency discrimination, the statement said, making it easier to open an account in another EU member state.

According to surveys and consultations carried out by the EU institutes, many European consumers face difficulties in opening a payment account due to their lack of a permanent address in the member state where the services provider is located.

Under the new rule, any consumer residing legally in a member state of the EU has the right to open payment accounts with basic features.

"Consumers may be required to show a genuine interest in opening an account, though the requirement must not be too burdensome," the statement said.

Meanwhile, a fee information document must be provided, using a clear and standardized format, and member states must ensure access, free of charge, to at least one website comparing fees charged by service providers.

Member states of the EU will have two years to transpose the directive into national law.