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Volume 690: debated on Tuesday 27 March 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make an assessment of the extent to which United Kingdom commercial banks are assisting ordinary customers by adherence to the European Union regulation that cross-border transactions should be treated as transactions within the single market and not as payments abroad, as they were treated before 1 January 2007. [HL2779]

Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 on cross-border payments in euros eliminates the difference of price between cross-border euro and national euro payments. This regulation has little practical impact in the UK given that the UK has chosen not to join the euro. In addition, the UK has chosen not to apply this regulation to sterling.

Currently, the UK banking industry is working closely with the European Payments Council to create a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). This should enable cross-border euro payments, such as credit transfers, direct debits and card transactions to be made more cheaply, easily and efficiently.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to consult the United Kingdom commercial banks on a nationwide scheme to cancel all charges on current accounts in credit except the cost of chequebooks and cheque clearing. [HL2780]

The Government have no plans to consult on such a scheme. The issue of bank default charges is currently subject to an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The OFT is an independent competition and consumer protection authority and considers cases on the basis of the objective information it collects.