Opening/switching bank accounts and information on fees
Directive 2014/92/EU — comparable and transparent fees and rules for all payment accounts and payment account switching
It aims to tackle 3 main issues:
access to basic payment accounts*,
transparency and comparability of payment account fees, and
bank account switching.
It has applied since 17 September 2014. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 18 September 2016.
Access to bank accounts
The law says that anyone residing legally in the European Union has the right to open a payment account with basic features in any EU country. However, a person wishing to open such a bank account should always comply with EU anti-money laundering rules.
A basic bank account includes various services such as cash withdrawals at a bank counter or cash machines and the execution of payment transactions such as direct debits or credit transfers within the EU.
Clear and comparable bank account fees
The law provides for several tools to make fees clearer for consumers. For instance, it requires that in each EU country there is at least one independent website that compares payment account fees that are charged by different banks.
Bank account switching services
The rules establish a quick procedure for consumers who want to switch their account from one bank to another in the same EU country. The switch has to be conducted by the recipient bank. The banks bear the costs of any financial loss in the event of errors made in the process.
When a consumer wants to switch accounts between two EU countries, the bank hosting the account which will be closed must assist in the process.
Basic payment account:
under this directive, it includes the following:
services enabling all operations required for opening, operating and closing a payment account;
services enabling funds to be placed on a payment (current) account;
services enabling withdrawals (within the EU) at a bank counter or cash machine;
execution of various payment transactions within the EU, such as direct debits and credit transfers, as well as payments with a payment card.
Directive 2014/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 on the comparability of fees related to payment accounts, payment account switching and access to payment accounts with basic features (OJ L 257, 28.8.2014, pp. 214–246)
Deposit guarantee schemes
Directive 2014/49/EU on deposit guarantee schemes to protect depositors of credit institutions
It seeks to protect depositors of all credit institutions, as well as to safeguard the stability of the European Union (EU) banking system as a whole.EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 3 July 2015.
Deposit guarantee schemes (DGSs) are an essential counterpart to the prudential supervision of credit institutions, such as banks, in creating solidarity between all the institutions operating in the same financial market in the event that one of them fails.
Each EU country must introduce laws to ensure that:
one or more DGSs are set up on their territory and that all banks are required to join them;
there is a harmonised level of protection for depositors.
Deposits are covered per depositor per bank. This means that the limit of € 100,000 applies to all aggregated accounts at the same bank. For joint accounts (e.g. belonging to a couple), the
€ 100,000 limit applies to each depositor.
Some deposits — such as those linked to life events such as marriage, divorce, retirement, redundancy, invalidity or death — may be protected above € 100,000 for a limited period of time (at least 3 months and no more than 12 months).
Beneficiaries of the guarantee
DGSs protect all deposits held by individuals and companies whatever their size.
Deposits of financial institutions and authorities are not covered (except for small local authorities).
Deposits in non-EU currencies are also covered, which is important for small and medium-sized companies active in several countries.
Repayment deadlines will gradually be cut from the current 20 working days to 7 in 3 phases:
15 working days from 2019;
10 working days from 2021;
7 working days from 2024.
During the transitional period, depositors in need may ask for a ‘social payout’, which is a limited amount to cover their costs of living.
Depositors at bank branches in another EU country are paid by the DGS in that country (host DGS), acting as a ‘single point of contact’ on behalf of the home DGS.
Financing of deposit guarantee schemes
The law confirms the fundamental principle underpinning DGSs: they have to be financed by banks. Contributions to DGSs reflect individual banks’ risk profiles, i.e. more risky banks have to pay more.
It requires EU countries to ensure that, by 3 July 2024, the available financial means of a DGS reaches a target level of at least 0.8 % of the amount of the covered deposits of its members (or about € 55 billion).
Use of funds
In principle, DGS funds are to be used to reimburse depositors after a bank failure. They may also be used, under strict conditions, for early intervention to prevent a bank’s failure or for some bank resolution measures, for example the transfer of deposits from a failing bank to another bank.
The law improves the standard of information given to depositors on the protection of their deposits. Banks have to provide account holders with clear information on depositor protection annually.
Directive 2014/49/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on deposit guarantee schemes (OJ L 173, 12.6.2014, pp. 149-178)
Successive amendments to Directive 2014/49/EU have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.