European parliamentarians have voted in favour of new rules which will force banks to slash fees on cross-border euro payments between EU countries that are in the euro zone and those that are not.
The plenary adopted by 532 votes in favour, 22 against and 55 abstentions, to push through the changes before the end of the year.
The new measures will also protect consumers from being charged arbitrary costs for currency conversions. At each transaction, they will be informed about the amount to be paid in the local currency and the currency of their account.
Consumers will receive an electronic push notification such as a text message, e-mail or notification through the payer's mobile or web banking application about the applicable currency conversion charges.
These notification services have to be offered free of charge and banks will also have to disclose the estimated full cost of currency conversion in the case of bank transfers before the payment is made.
Eva Maydell (EPP, BG), rapporteur, states: “150 million EU citizens and 6 million businesses living and operating in countries outside the Eurozone have been paying much higher charges for transferring euro than their Eurozone counterparts. This will no longer be the case and all Europeans will pay significantly lower charges, which will save them more than 1 billion euro annually. This is the second, small EU revolution after the abolishment of roaming fees.
It is a huge step forward to completing the Single Market for payments, putting Eurozone and non-Eurozone businesses on a level playing field.”