This Monday, the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee adopted a draft regulation limiting charges for cross-border payments within the EU and for currency conversion services by a broad cross-party majority. According to Parliament’s position, payment service providers for cross-border payments in Europe should only be allowed to charge fees equivalent to the national transfer fees throughout the EU. This applies to all cross-border payments, regardless of the currency transferred. The Commission had only proposed to harmonise the charges for payments in euros throughout the EU. The European Parliament is also in favour of more transparency and comparability of charges for currency conversion services, for example for card payments or withdrawals in another currency. Consumers should also be given the opportunity to permanently block dynamic currency conversion services from their account, which are usually detrimental to them, so that this option does not even appear at an ATM or when making card payments. The decision serves the EU Parliament as a negotiation position for the forthcoming Trialogues on the final text of the regulation with the member states and the EU Commission.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“This is a considerable step forward for consumer protection in European financial markets. This step is long overdue so that European consumers can benefit more than before from the advantages of the Capital Markets Union. Consumers outside the euro area must no longer be treated as second-class customers who are charged extra for their services. The sometimes horrendous fees for cross-border credit transfers, which in extreme cases even exceed the value of the actual transfer, must finally be overcome in the European internal market. The new rules on transparency and comparability of different payment service providers for currency conversions at ATMs and for card payments must be consistently enforced by European and national supervisors. Only if customers know the real costs of their payments with different providers before each transaction genuine competition for the benefit of consumers can emerge.”