Today, the Commission adopted proposals on cheaper cross-border payments across the EU and fairer currency conversions for consumers. The new rules provide that all cross-border payments in euro and within the EU will be priced the same – even outside the euro area. Moreover, the Commission wants to bring more transparency and competition to currency conversion services.
Both propositions seek to enhance the Single Market integration as they promote cross-border activities of consumers, who in turn enjoy the benefits of simply sending money, withdrawing cash or paying abroad.
The proposal includes the following:
Specifically, consumers from a non-euro Member State can now make euro transactions with small or zero fees as domestic payments in the local official currency across the entire EU.
For more transparent currency conversion services, consumers now have to be fully informed about the cost of a currency conversion before they make a payment in a currency other than their own. Hence, they will be able to compare the costs of different conversion options to make the best possible choice.
Monique Goyens, Director General of the European Consumer Organization BEUC, commented on this: “It’s high time that the opacity surrounding this practice of currency conversion is lifted. Consumers frequently prefer to pay in a currency they are used to but are not at all aware that they pay more. I applaud the Commission’s action to increase transparency. In offering the service, merchants and service providers are effectively adding a cost to the consumer’s bill without him knowing. At the very least, the consumer should know what he is being charged.”
Source: European Commission