European Commission planning a crackdown on currency exchange costs

27th July 2017
Contributor:
Callum Godwin
Callum Godwin

The Commission has already banned costs for cross-border payments made in Euros, but is now looking to extend this to other currencies.

The aim of this is to eliminate “charging practices that are not favourable to consumers”, with the Vice President of the EC, Valdis Dombrovskis, stating that they would focus on the areas of transferring money abroad and withdrawing cash from ATMs.

Merchants operating cross-border may now need to reconsider how they cover the costs of accepting different currencies, as direct charges could be banned as a result of this consultation.

Official Release

Commission launches consultation on how to make cross-border payments cheaper

The Commission is launching today a public consultation on ways to reduce the costs of cross-border payments within the European Union in currencies other than the Euro. The EU has already abolished costs for cross-border payments in the Euro Area: these now cost the same as national payments. As announced in its Consumer Financial Services Action Plan of March 2017, the Commission now wants to extend similar savings to other currencies and eliminate charging practices that are not favourable to consumers. This is also part of the Commission’s efforts to improve the transparency of the fees that consumers pay in related transactions.

Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, 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”.

The consultation seeks to gather views from a broad range of interested parties and will include a separate questionnaire geared to consumers. The feedback to this consultation will help the Commission define the best way forward to complete the objective of reducing the cost of cross-border payments. The consultation questionnaires are available here and will be open until 30 October 2017.