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 52.

    44. Last time I checked I have the right to disrespect people who have only 139 councillors out of thousands, no MPs and ex-BNP members in their files. If you are middle class/Mail reader/net-curtain-shires then I feel I disrespect you even more. By the way, not me profiling Ukipers. Incidentally I am a Lab voter in London with a tax bill running in five figures, any of your lot with that?

  • 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 2.

    The Snatcherites won't like that... don't they realise that ordinary peoples money is the bankers birthright?...
    They'll be using this as another excuse to trot out the 'get out if Europe' rant.

  • 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 26.

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


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