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.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    "Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again." - Josiah Stamp.

    There is no need for our currency to be created by private business, as a debt, at interest.
    The Bradbury pound is a precedent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    Went into my bank once to set-up my account. Lived/ worked/ travelled for over 8 years in over 20 countries in 6 continents. Tinterwebs and globally-connected ATMs are awesome inventions... easier than faxing a cheque.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    I think that there is a massive information security issue associated with this and as others have pointed out e-crime. I would recommend any company or indeed individual contact [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] for more insight and info on how they can protect their business and indeed themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.


    "Notice how the anti-EU brigade hate anything giving rights to workers or taking away power from banks?"

    This is hardly a question of 'rights' or 'power being taken away from banks' - it's just MORE regulation.

    That's all the EU ever does, pile on more and more layers of regulation, red tape, requirements for business.

    You obviously have NO clue how much this costs the economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    It seems like a fairly obvious idea to me, in fact im more surprised it needs a law and isnt part of the free trade agreements. Its your money, should be able to put it in what ever bank you choose. Also countries considered to be a bit dodgy will see their capital drying up as people move elsewhere which should encourage them clean up their acts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    My wife is Swedish. When we got married it was virtually impossible to get her a bank account because the system here is tied up in pathetic ridiculous red tape. Sweden does not use marriage certificates. The bank was prepared to take a marriage certificate that was made by a friend as a gift even though it was not genuine. Also their middle names on the 2nd line do not count here -Farcical

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    Banks are the masters of the Ponzi Scheme that they call "The world monetary System", they just lie, cheat & steal as much as they can while investing millions in the Politician that will do their bidding!
    The game's up and the people are slowly getting a better deal since the Crash of 2008, but it's taking way too long and the bribery goes on

    We have a Corporate Culture of Profits at any cost!

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    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 .....
    Found ANY bank ANYWHERE that does ALL of that?
    Why single out the EU? - because it sounds sweeter?

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    154.Fiscal prudence

    Once again, not true. Full reserve banking doesn't mean banks keeping 100% of deposits. It means only lending out what you have on deposit.
    To suggest all banking for 5000 has been on a fractional reserve basis is demonstrably false. With respect, it appears it is you who doesn't understand.
    Creating money from thin air is not banking. It's counterfeiting, legalised.

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    154.Fiscal prudence
    Wow. I don't think you do. Even Jesus threw the money changers out of his temple 2000 years ago!

    How can you think operating insolvently is a sound model for banking? It is counterfeiting money. We're not allowed to do it, for good reason.

    I don't mean to be rude, but where do you get your understanding of Fractional Reserve Banking from? I've never heard this before.

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    What - and have my money stolen like those in Cyprus. No thanks

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    The nest step is to lower the cost of within EU bank transfer. At they momen cost is horrendous for a consumer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    @137 I don't think you and your supporters have any idea what FRB is or how it functions. It is the basis of all banking for the past 5,000 years and without it no bank could lend any money as it would have to keep 100% of deposits in reserve. Banks would therefore be like Piggy Bankson the top shelf. Who would thereby finance trade, industry, personal loans & mortgages? No I'm not a banker.

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    It is not just money laundering that I am worried about, but what about those companies that will open up a bank account in another country and say that they are operating their company from that country and try and get out of paying their tax to this country's coffers. It may be useful for some people, but I can see it ending in tears for many more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    Indeed, a fellow Libertarian. Ahem, I mean an individual! Xx

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    And will the full or partial details of all these European bank accounts also become accessible under the UK snoopers charter? I'll wait for the stories of money laundering to break.

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    French accounts require French address. So I Was told by my bank. Then again the French have a particular knack for making it difficult. You pay for a bank account, you pay for a card, you pay for cheques, you can't take money out from branch, only the machine, for which you pay for card. Banks in different areas wont process your accounts so you have to go back to you "home" branch etc etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    Are you too and Austrian Economist?"
    TBH I don't like to pigeon-hole myself but I guess, at heart, the Austrian school comes closest.
    I utterly reject the Hegelian dialectic. I'm a sovereign human being, not a chattel of the state.
    I believe in contracts freely entered into & that includes with anybody's government.
    Hope that answers you? :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    Plan by the EU to tie up even more countries in red tape to make a split even more difficult.

    So whats stops someone paying into a foreign bank account which the tax man has a much harder time tracking?

    Bad for Britain, good for tax avoidance

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    @139 Ahmed

    You should be banned from these sites as you are inciting racial and religious hatred. . .for yourself AND your religion. Why anyone would want to do that is beyond me as all you are showing is that your religion is intollerant of ANY other colour or religion. You should be ashamed of yourself! as, I'm sure Allah and many many of your own people would be


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