European Parliament’s Adoption of Payments Proposals Welcomed by EC

The European Parliament adopted two legislative proposals revising the current rules governing cross-border payments and the conditions for issuing electronic money in the EU. Both legal texts will now be forwarded to the EU Council for final adoption. The new regulation on cross-border payments will apply as from 1 November 2009, the final deadline for the transposition of the Payment Services Directive (PSD), while the new E-Money Directive should be transposed into national law by the Member States by no later than 2011.

The new regulation on cross-border payments in the EC extends the principle of equal charges for national and cross-border payments to direct debits, in addition to credit transfers, electronic payments (including card transactions) and ATM cash withdrawals, which are already covered by the current version of the regulation. In order to facilitate the launch of the single euro payments area (SEPA) direct debit scheme on 1 November 2009, the regulation introduces temporary rules on multilateral interchange fees and reachability for direct debit transactions. These temporary rules will give to the payments industry enough time to come forward with a long-term business model for direct debits in full respect of the competition rules.

The new E-Money Directive aims at providing the market with a clear and balanced prudential and legal framework hereby removing unnecessary or disproportionate barriers to market entry, ensuring greater consistency with the PSD. A fundamental change in the new Directive concerns the introduction of proportionate prudential requirements facilitating market access to newcomers.

Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: “We are just a few months away from the final deadline for the transposition of the PSD into the domestic law of the Member States. These two measures, alongside the noteworthy efforts of the payments industry to develop SEPA products, will be a crucial and timely step towards the completion of the single market for payments. They will, together with the PSD, complete the legal basis which is indispensable to provide clarity, certainty and stability to the market.”


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