I am today publishing a consultation on the draft payment accounts regulations 2015.
The regulations make provision regarding the transparency and comparability of fees charged in relation to payment accounts; payment account switching and access to payment accounts with basic features for all consumers legally resident within the EU.
The regulations are required in order to implement the requirements of the payment accounts directive (2014/92/EU) (“PAD”) which was adopted on 23 July 2014. In order to meet treaty obligations, EU member states must implement the majority of the measures set out in PAD by 18 September 2016.
The Government have already taken forward a number of initiatives for the purposes of improving the experience of UK current account customers. For example, the seven-day current account switch service (CASS) supports current account switching and basic bank accounts have been available in the UK for over 10 years, most recently augmented by the December 2014 agreement concluded by the nine largest providers of current accounts in the UK. That new agreement clarified and improved the terms upon which basic bank accounts are offered.
To complete the transposition of PAD, the UK must establish these initiatives in legislation and amend existing legislation related to the provision and regulation of payment accounts. However, due to the measures that the UK already has in place, the proposed regulations aim to minimise any negative impact on structures and services that are working well.
PAD allows member states to extend provision in a number of areas. Under the draft regulations, application will not be extended beyond what is necessary.
The exception to this is chapter IV of PAD—payment accounts with basic features—where UK policy on basic bank accounts is more developed than that set out in the directive. As a result, the Government intend to implement PAD in such a way as to preserve the UK’s existing basic bank account policy, while creating the necessary legal certainty for consumers required by PAD.
The consultation closes on 3 August. The consultation document is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/latest?departments%5B%5D=hm-treasury