Paolo Soro

Cheap euro transfers across the EU and steps towards a Defence Union

Commission adopts proposals on cheaper cross-border payments and fairer currency conversions for consumers.

The European Commission proposed today 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.

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!).

Today's hefty fees are an obstacle to the Single Market as they create barriers to cross-border activities of households such as buying goods or services in another currency zone and to businesses, in particular SMEs.

This creates a major gap between euro area residents who benefit from the single currency, and non-euro area residents who can only make cheap transactions within their own country.

The Commission also proposed today to bring more transparency and competition to currency conversion services when consumers are buying goods or services in a different currency than their own.

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.

Source: EU Commission News

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