Bank accounts will be 'open to all' in EU

Shredded documents The plans are designed to make bank charges clearer to customers

European residents will have the right to open a basic bank account in any country of the EU and compare the fees charged by providers, under new plans.

The European Commission is outlining proposals 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 resident.

The Commission also hopes to reduce the numbers who do not have accounts.

It estimates that about 58 million consumers across the EU, aged over 15, do not have a payment account. The levels vary hugely across different states of the EU.

Swift switching

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 plans would mean anyone could open an account, even if they have been made bankrupt or unemployed, with at least one provider. This would allow them to perform basic operations such as to receive their salary, pensions and benefits, or to pay utility bills.

The Commission also wants banks to send information to customers that lists the fees for common services, and the charges that have been levied in the previous 12 months.

It also plans to set down rules that ensure an account is switched for free within 15 days between providers in the same country. The UK is already going further, with a speedier seven working-day switching plan.

The Commission wants to see free switching between providers in different EU countries to take place within 30 days.

"By making it easier to compare fees and change bank accounts, we also hope to see better offers from banks and lower costs," said EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier.


More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Headline should be - EU wastes more of our time and money on pointless scheme to add irrelevent gimmicks to failing Eurocracy

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    @ 9. HouseTrained
    "So what's going to stop people living in financially unstable countries (Greece, Cyprus etc.) making things worse by moving their savings to a more stable country?"

    Absolutely Nothing!

    What a fantastic way to focus the minds of the banker and politicians to prevent then making destabeliing polices in the future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    So that's why our bankers want out of europe. They might have to reduce their rates and provide decent services....Oh, and crooks aren't so easily tolerated in banking elsewhere in europe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    As expected the BBC is increasing the number of stories that put a positive spin on the benefits of EU membership.

    This is obviously not a new initiative so why is it being reported now?

    No wonder trust in the BBC is rock-bottom.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    'many consumers find it difficult to open an account in another EU country where they are not resident.'

    Why would i need a bank account in a country that i do not live in!?

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    The most effective block on opening bank accounts in the UK from anywhere else in Europe is the blinkered application of the money laundering legislation. You need legally witnessed copies of passports and utility bills to open anything, even if you already have legal accounts with the same group. Lots of backside covering and,as ever with banks, no discretion allowed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Money launderers dream!

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Wow! This means we'll get the ECB cast iron guarantee on savers' deposit accounts...

    Just as they did in Cyprus right up to the time they raided peoples' bank accounts under instructions from Germany...

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    The costs of chasing after dodgy account holderts accross the EU will be enormous, which the costs will be added to banking charges for everyone.

    In UK, we already have have basic post office accounts & others that only provide access to money paid in.

    We do not need the EU to do this full EU coverage, UK can do it ourselves &, but only banks within UK for UK residents

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    God...where to now, trust the EU? people must be as stupid as those who went on a borrowing spree due to low interest. Problem of tax evasion, but then you will get all opening accounts in the UK because we are a soft, education, welfare.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    And how do they plan to get banks to verify proof of residency for example?

    It sounds good, but not really workable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    This can only be a positive development for the public.
    There will be costs involved, more so than with the U.K. banks. This will be grist to the mill of the detractors, (who can choose not to have one).
    There may be issues involved with cross border cash flows, but if it is simpler to move money across borders this will give a little more security to depositors.

    A good decision from the E.U.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Sounds like a recipe for tax evasion and money-laundering, to me. One of the Commission's dafter ideas (and that's saying something).

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    New day new EU law and all this cost the UK is £53,000,000 a day.

    80% of all laws now created in the EU. The EU has created more laws in 20 years than in the last 700 hundred years.

    My favourite is the tractor brake lights is now the same across the EU, don’t you feel safe knowing that!

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Form an orderly queue for a Bank Of Cyprus account.

    Open your account today and the Government will instantly reduce your savings by as much as 25 !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    It seems sensible as we are moving towards completely electronic money systems to allow access to all members of society. Failure to do so will create a two tier money system with all the tax implications and those who 'have' will have another excuse to blame the untouchables below them. I see no suggestions from the nay sayers for an alternative. Just knee jerk tabloid slogans learnt instead.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    So, does the EU have accounts that don't:

    Pay 0.0001% whilst in credit but charge 30% whilst overdrawn ?

    Change £25 if you slip 1p in to the red ?

    Have all their call centres in India ?

    Treat customers that dare to wonder into their branch as an inconvenience (why else have they closed all but one till) ?

    Finding a bank like that would be good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    So what's going to stop people living in financially unstable countries (Greece, Cyprus etc.) making things worse by moving their savings to a more stable country?

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Will these banks increase their "competitiveness" by having a whole raft of different tarrifs like the energy companies so nobody knows what the real cost of services are?

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Great news! I had such trouble opening a euro account in UK - in the end I had to go for private banking in Isle of Man - why?


Page 14 of 15


More Business stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.