On 13 July 2011, the European Commission will issue a recommendation to all Member States to ensure that consumers have access to a basic payment account if they need one. Access to payment services has become a necessary precondition for participating fully in the economic and social life of a modern society, particularly within the Single Market. A basic payment account would enable consumers to receive, place, transfer and withdraw available funds, and combat problems of financial and social exclusion that those currently without bank accounts face. This Recommendation is expected to have an impact on the millions of consumers who are currently deprived from using essential payment services.

The Background

Consumers without a basic payment account face a number of issues today, including problems relating to property rental, the payment of wages or access to other services. In addition, individuals taking up opportunities for cross-border study, traineeships, or employment have encountered difficulties with opening payment accounts because they are not permanent residents in the Member State where they wish to open a payment account. Such problems would be rectified if Member States act following the principles set out in this recommendation.

Moreover, access to a payment account would make it possible for more consumers to benefit from the Single Payments Area as well as from the rights and protection introduced by the Payment Services Directive. Payment of benefits by public administrations would thus be easier and more cost-effective.


Published: 26 June 2013