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 246.

    They have not quite got the Euro sorted out and they are trying to tie everything up with the banking sector.

    Why should anyone be charged for a basic account when it is mandatory that wages be put into a bank account? Charges should apply for extra services above basic. Banks hold the money and can invest it to make profit.

    Tongue-in-cheek;) Does pan European banking still apply if UK exits EU?

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    Tell me when there are 0% interest banks where my deposit isn't going to be plundered any time soon, then I'll show some interest. I don't indulge in gambling, thank you very much.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    Is there anything in these proposals to say that they are going to be free banks accounts?

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    @240. Thanks so much Sally. I'll certainly dig all these works out and either read or reread them. The first economics book I ever read in 1958 was Marshall! Yes, well past his sell by date even then although economists still said 'it's all in Marshall' years after. However, I can understand this assertion as some of his passing comments & ramblings could mean almost anything. I once met Friedman.

  • Comment number 242.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    Europe-wide bank accounts will no doubt make it much easier for the Euro-state to plunder them as and when it sees fit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    I really enjoyed Hayek, but to be honest, I preferred his contemporaries. Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson", was the 1st book I read on economics and it was amazing, and clear. He built on Bastiat's famous "Broken Window Fallacy" in his essay "What is seen and what is not seen": The unintended consequences of intervention in the free market, which is what this article is about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    @237. Yes, all understood! I know exactly where you are coming from. Must reread his seminal 1976? paper. Whilst theoretically very elegant Hayek's ideas do have some difficult consequences with his belief intervention is more likely to cause harm than good. Not sure if that would wear politically anywhere these days. Doesn't mean he wasn't right. It's the same being a Social Darwinist.. x

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    "If so I apologise for discounting some of your views on banking. However, how they would work?"
    No apologies necessary.
    In early 1800s, Scotland had a Free Market banking system. Canada had a similar system, during the Depression they lost only 3% of deposits relative to USA depositors.

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    236.Fiscal prudence
    Well done!
    Yes, I am a disciple of Hayek, and Hazlitt (Austrian school). Although the label neoliberal is applied, it's probably more correct to say "Classical Liberal". Adam Smith, John Locke and Frédéric Bastiat were yammering on it centuries ago.

    *So now I guess you know where I'm coming from on these issues at least. Xx

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    @228. I've been following your recent postings and suddenly realised they have a familiarity about them. I read Hayek & the Austrian school years ago at university and his neoliberal approach to the economy, trade cycles & banking. Have you been influenced by this work? If so I apologise for discounting some of your postings and views on banking & finance. However, not sure how they would work?

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    Sounds like a good policy and one that will benefit workers rather than businesses.
    So, obviously not an idea that had been backed or supported by Conservative MEP's

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    Bank accounts in their most basic form are OK, but anything beyond that involves risk to the provider as well as the consumer, and that will be reflected in charges across the board. Start giving add-ons, and customers won't know where they are. I reckon we should return to the days when you couldn't open a bank account anywhere without two references as to conduct and reliability.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    Why would I open an EU bank account to receive a 60% haircut on my savings by the EU Bandits?

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    When a farmer deposits his grain in a silo, is that a loan to the silo keeper for investment? No.

    When a saver deposits their gold bars & coins in a vault, is the vault keeper allowed to invest it in return for "promised" interest? No.

    When a worker has their wages deposited into a bank, is the banker allowed to invest it as if it were a loan? Yes (but should be no too).

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    slouching_towards_Bethlehem @170 The British establishment will not like this measure because it increases the economic power of citizens, and diminishes that of the state to control them, and to control or seize their wealth

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    Robert #212

    Bank in the EU if you like but will your money be safe? How long before they do a Cyprus snatch and take a big lump of it,?

    In some of the EU when a bank fails or the state goes into debt the banks dip into the accounts of their clients. In UK they just get the taxpayer to pick up the mess! I think I know which I would prefer as a tax payer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    About time.This should have done years ago. UK Banks make deliberately make it hard to keep money in any currency other than GB Pounds which makes it very hard for UK residents (or those of any other country for that matter) to protect their savings from a policy of currency debasement and devaluation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    Are you saying that unless a bank is exposed via a run that it's insolvent, you're fine with it to trade insolvently?

    If a gold vault cannot meet 99% of its depsitors withdraws, it is insolvent, and probably guilty of embezzlement and or conversion.
    *Bank runs aren't common, but they will be.

    Poor bloke!
    We need people like him in our offices, I can assure you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.


    So you could live in another EU country permanently with no intention of ever leaving but still happily open a bank account here (and several others in other EU states)? "

    Exactly as you can now.


Page 3 of 15


More Business stories



  • A painting of the White House on fire by Tom FreemanFinders keepers

    The odd objects looted by the British from Washington in 1814

  • Chris and Regina Catrambone with their daughter Maria LuisaSOS

    The millionaires who rescue people at sea

  • Plane7 days quiz

    What unusual offence got a Frenchman thrown off a plane?

  • Children testing a bridge at a model-making summer school in Crawley, West SussexSeeding science Watch

    The retired professor who turned village children into engineers

  • Krouwa Erick, the doctor in Sipilou town at the border of Ivory Coast and Guinea - 27 August 2014Bad trip

    The Ebola journey no-one in Ivory Coast wants to take

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.