European Consumer Centre Bulgaria

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Proposal: Cheap euro transfers everywhere in the Union

28.03.2018

The European Commission is proposing to make cross-border payments in euro cheaper across the entire EU. Under current rules, there is no difference for euro area residents or businesses if they carry out euro transactions in their own country or with another euro area Member State. Today's proposal aims to extend this benefit to people and businesses in non-euro countries.

 This will allow all consumers and businesses to fully reap the benefits of the Single Market when they send money, withdraw cash or pay abroad. All intra-EU cross-border payments in euro outside the euro area will now be priced the same – with small or zero fees - as domestic payments in the local official currency. Moreover, the Commission is today proposing to bring more transparency and competition to currency conversion services when consumers are buying goods or services in a different currency than their own.

In particular, this proposal provides that fees charged for cross-border payments in euro are the same that would be charged for equivalent domestic payments in the local currency. This will bring down fees to a few euro or even cents. For example, a cross-border credit transfer in euro (EUR) from Bulgaria will be priced the same as a domestic Bulgarian lev (BGN) credit transfer. This is a major change, as fees for a simple credit transfer can be exorbitant in some non-euro area Member States (up to EUR 24 for a transfer of EUR 10).

New proposal will also bring about transparency on payments that involve different Union currencies. At the moment, consumers are usually not informed or aware of the cost of a transaction that involves a currency conversion. The proposal will therefore require that consumers are fully informed of the cost of a currency conversion before they make such payment (e.g. with their card abroad, be it a cash withdrawal at an ATM or a card payment at a point of sale, or online). This means they will be able to compare the costs of different conversion options to make a fair choice.

The legislative proposal will now be submitted to the European Parliament and Council for adoption.

View full press release here


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