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Financial services

MEPs call for common payment rules

Common EU rules would make card payments easier to handle

Future EU rules for card payments should be modelled on those for cross-border bank transfers to make paying cheap, easy and safe, say MEPs.

Common EU technical and security standards would make card payments easier to handle, and fees charged for handling them should reflect real costs. Enforcing cost transparency should ensure that fees converge towards the lowest EU level.

MEPs call for common rules and standards for personal credit or debit card payments to bring this market closer to its full potential and efficiency. They add that these rules and standards should be based on those developed for the single Euro payments area (SEPA) regulation, which governs euro credit and direct debit transactions among banks.

Just as SEPA is designed to remove the gap between domestic and cross-border bank transfers, so the goal of integrating the card payment market should be to make cross-border payments as convenient as payments at national level.

A SEPA-like model is also needed for internet and mobile payments, but it should avoid regulating this market too heavily, so as not to hinder its natural growth or stifle innovation, the non-binding resolution adds.

Current fees for handling card payments are often too high relative to the costs they need to cover. Nevertheless, these fees do not need to be capped, as making costs transparent should help to make handling fees ‘converge to the common lowest level based on real costs’.

The minimum security requirements for card, internet and mobile payment should be the same in all EU member states. Common technical standards should foster interoperability and security and also provide for real-time delivery.

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