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European Commission examines ways to cut the cost of cross-border non-Euro payments

The European Commission is considering whether to impose a mandatory cap on the fees banks and other payment service providers should be allowed to charge when processing cross-border transactions in currencies other than the euro.26 Jul 2017

EU rules already require fees for cross-border and domestic payments in euros to be the same. However, Sweden is the only EU country which has not adopted the euro to apply the same requirement to fees for cross-border and domestic payments in its local currency, the krona.

As a result, "EU citizens who need to make transactions that involve EU currencies of EU member states other than the euro still face major costs and obstacles which stand in the way of a deepening of the internal market," the Commission said. It has opened a consultation to seek views on how it should look to reduce those costs. A mandatory cap on fees is one of the options it has asked stakeholders for their views on.

The Commission said it is also considering whether to regulate fees for euro transactions in EU countries that do not use the euro as their currency. It has asked stakeholders whether EU regulations should be updated to require the price of such transactions to be locked at the same as "domestic transactions in local currency".

Views have also been requested on how to improve the information about currency conversion to help consumers choose "the most advantageous option" for them. 

The Commission's consultation is open until 30 October.

Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU commissioner responsible for financial services, said: "In our action plan on consumer financial services, we committed to proposing legislation to reduce charges for cross-border transactions in all member states. Euro transactions in the euro area are usually priced very low, but this is not always the case with cross-border transactions made in other member states' currencies or outside the euro area. I want to make sure that all Europeans pay less when transferring money abroad or taking money out of cash machines during their holidays – no matter which currency they use or where they are in the EU."