New rules on Payment Services for the benefit of consumers and retailers

8/5/2013

The European Commission has adopted a package including a new payment Services Directive as well as a proposal for regulation on interchange fees for card-based payment transactions. 

The revised Payment Services Directive brings a number of new important elements and improvements to the EU payment market:

  • It facilitates and renders more secure the use of low cost internet payment services by including within its scope new so-called payment initiation services. These are services that operate between the merchant and the purchaser’s bank, allowing for cheap and efficient electronic payments without the use of a credit card. These service providers will now be subject to the same high standards of regulation and supervision as all other payment institutions. At the same time, banks and all other payment service providers will need to step up the security of online transactions by including strong customer authentication for payments.
  • Consumers will be better protected against fraud, possible abuses and payment incidents (e.g. in case of disputed and incorrectly executed payment transactions). Consumers may be required to face only very limited losses – up to a maximum of 50 EUR (vs. 150 EUR currently)- in cases of unauthorised card payments.
  • The proposal increases consumer rights when sending transfers and money remittances outside Europe or paying in non-EU currencies.
  • It will promote the emergence of new players and the development of innovative mobile and internet payments in Europe for sake of EU competitiveness worldwide.

This package responds to major changes in the way Europeans shop and pay. Almost every account holder in the EU possesses a debit payment card and 40% also own a credit card. 34% of EU citizens already shop on the internet and more than 50% possess a smartphone, which allows them to access the world of mobile payments. Some economy sectors – like the travel industry – even make most of their sales on the Internet.