EU citizens will have the right to a basic current bank account in any country of the EU and compare the fees charged by banks under new European legislation plans. The EC suggested that they are drafting a proposal to make it easier for customers to compare charges and switch to another bank.
At present, many consumers find it difficult to open an account in another EU country where they are not residents. The Commission also will aim to reduce the numbers of European citizens who do not have accounts (they estimate that around 58 million consumers across the EU, aged over 15, do not have a payment account).
Only France, Belgium and Italy have laws in place that ensure people have access to a basic bank account in line with the proposals.
The EC new directives would mean anyone could potentially open an account (even in instances where they have been made bankrupt or unemployed). This would allow them to perform basic operations such as to receive their salary, pensions and benefits, or to pay utility bills. The EC also will ask banks to send information to customers that list the fees for common services, and the charges that have been levied in the previous 12 months.
The EC wants this to be implemented i.e. free switching between providers in different EU countries within 30 days.
Dr George Mountis
Delfi Partners & Company