Project on account information and payment initiation servicesReport for the vzbv on the PSD2 implementation in Germany

Project period: 
September 2020 – December 2020

Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv)

The Second Payment Services Directive (known as PSD2), reorganized the requirements for the provision of payment services in the European Union (EU). Through the directive, the EU aimed at promoting innovations in payment transactions, improving payment security and strengthening consumer protection.

With the introduction of the PSD2, two new types of services emerged and became regulated for the first time: On the one hand, account information services can access and analyze consumers’ account and payment data and present consumers with intelligible reports. Such services can be used, for example, to combine several bank accounts in one overview or to carry out credit checks. On the other hand, consumers can use payment initiation services to initiate payment orders directly from their bank account. Such services represent alternative payment methods to credit cards and direct debits and can also be used, for example, to switch current accounts, including existing standing orders.

To enable the provision of such services, credit institutions must provide dedicated interfaces for third-party providers so that they can view account data and initiate payments.

This project was commissioned by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv) and aimed at investigating what the digital financial market looks like one year after the implementation of the last stage of the PSD2: What advantages and disadvantages has the directive brought to consumers? Is there a need to improve the directive?

To answer these questions, in a first step, an exemplary market overview of services was created through desk-based research. This served as the basis for an analysis, which consisted of expert interviews and a more detailed discussion of selected examples of PSD2-relevant services. In addition, a digital workshop with experts was organized to discuss and reflect on how the digital financial market has changed for consumers. Based on the results, recommendations were formulated for further research needs or regulatory improvements.

The report has been published on the vzbv website and is available here.

Media and other reporting on the project:
Handelsblatt // Consumer advocates criticize lack of data protection for account data

Project of

Christian Thorun

Managing Director

+49 (0)30 2359116-11

Project Manager

+49 (0)30 2359116-17