This initiative reports on the application and impact of EU rules on payment services, as required by the review clause of the Second Payment Services Directive and announced in the Commission´s retail payments strategy of 2020.
Instant payments regulation - Related Opinions
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The EESC shares the Commission's view on the strategic importance of payments and that further work is needed to enable payment transactions within the single market using new home-grown, pan-European payment solutions. It also supports the view that the Commission should act as a political catalyst, whilst it is the private sector that should design the innovative digital payment solutions. The EESC believes that relevant market players should be subject to appropriate legislation, supervision and oversight, ensuring a level playing field among those offering the same services and activities.
The EESC welcomes the Commission proposal on cross-border payments in the Union aiming at lowering the costs for cross-border payments in euros and at bringing more transparency regarding currency-conversion fees. It endorses the fact that the Commission should analyse further possibilities – and the technical feasibility of those possibilities – of extending the equal charges rule to all Union currencies and of further improving the transparency and comparability of currency conversion charges.
The objective of this proposal is to bring the benefits of Regulation 924/2009 to people and businesses in Member States outside the euro area, and put an end to the high cost of intra-EU cross-border transactions in euro. This proposal will enhance transparency for consumers by disclosing the full cost of a cross-border transaction. It will help them compare currency conversion service offers before starting a payment transaction involving a currency conversion.
With this opinion the EESC welcomes the Commission's initiative to prioritise the fight against cybercrime, as it aims to protect Europeans and businesses from cybercrime networks, and includes measures to boost confidence in the use of electronic payment instruments. The EESC is of the view that the benefits of digitisation must be flanked by mechanisms able to meet the accompanying challenges, so that the European economy and Europeans can enjoy the information society to the full. For the EESC it is important to establish deterrents and mechanisms to inform the public about the modus operandi of offenders as well, through awareness-raising campaigns conducted by law enforcement authorities in the Member States.
The Commission has identified three main strands of further work to move a step closer to a genuine Single Market for financial services:
Increase consumer trust and empower consumers when buying services at home or from other Member States.
Reduce legal and regulatory obstacles affecting businesses when seeking to expand abroad.
Support the development of an innovative digital world which can overcome some of the existing barriers to the Single Market.
Banking and insurance are evolving. Insurance companies and banks are at the forefront of the development of the digital economy. The very nature of their activities lends itself to the intensive use of the new technologies. In a highly competitive framework marked by a keener pursuit of competitiveness, insurance companies and banks have become part of an ongoing drive for innovation.
With this opinion the EESC takes the opportunity to comment on how the European market for retail financial services can be further opened up. The EESC welcomes that the Commission is on track and has an ambitious programme for implementing the Action Plan on Building a Capital Markets Union, also endorsing that consumers should be given the opportunity, whenever possible, to compare different products, so they can make an informed choice.
Secure, efficient, competitive and innovative electronic payments are crucial for the Internal Market in all products and services, and this has an increasing impact as the world moves beyond bricks-and-mortar trade towards e-commerce. The two Commission proposals on card-based payment transactions will introduce maximum levels of interchange fees for transactions based on consumer debit and credit cards. The EESC wants to lower the caps for both credit and debit electronic payments, and include at the same level commercial cards. The proposal strengthens consumer rights concerning international money transfers and will also promote the emergence of new players and the development of innovative mobile and internet payment systems.
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