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Consumers making cross-border payments [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for consumers making cross-border payments.


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Whether you are travelling for leisure or business within the European Union, you should be able to make deposits in or withdrawals from a payment account, make payment transactions, or send money home in an easy and secure way. To achieve this goal, the EU has set up the necessary legal framework (the Payment Services Directive, first referred to as PSD 1 (2007/64/EC) now replaced by PSD 2 (EU) 2015/2366), and Regulation (EU) 924/2009 on charges for cross-border payments), and contributed to the establishment of the single euro payments area (SEPA).

Young couple withdrawing money using ATM at the airport during their travel

© rh2010/ Fotolia

The legal framework on payment services helps – among other things – to ensure that institutions offering these services have good governance standards and provide clear information, both before and after providing their services. It also lays down rules to ensure that customers are refunded if a payment transaction has been wrongly authorised by a payment provider. In addition, it sets strict requirements to protect financial data. Lastly, it has equalised fees for cross-border and national payments in euro within the EU, reducing transaction fees to a few cents.

The single euro payments area (SEPA), meanwhile, harmonises the way cash-less euro payments are made across Europe, allowing consumers, businesses and public administrations to make and receive credit transfers, direct debit payments and card payments under the same basic conditions.

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