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Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection

The broad approach is better suited to achieve the aim of the Directive to enhance transparency and comparability of fees, because the services are easier to compare and more standardized services are encompassed in the list. Furthermore the services are easier to understand, because they are simplified.
The eight chosen services are suitable to achieve the aims of the Directive to facilitate the transparency and comparability of fees related to payment accounts and payment account switching, because the list provides a good compilation of main services a payment service provider (PSP) offers. Therefore the consumers are informed about the services offered and for which services fees will be charged. This enables the consumers to better compare the different services offered by different PSPs.
The drafting decisions are suited to achieve the aims of the Directive, because in order to be consumer friendly it is necessary to use clear and simple language. The sentences should not be too long and too complicated wordings and terms should be avoided. It is advantageous that the glossary is not limited to the terminology contained on the national final list and further definitions can be added. In Austria it is more common for bank customers to use the possibility of a “Kontoüberschreitung” and not a “Kontoüberziehung”. Therefore in the Austrian list of standardized terms and definitions a definition about the “Kontoüberschreitung” should be added.
The proposed terms and definitions are suitable, because the EBA used simple words and shorter sentences. The language used is comprehensible for consumers and enables them to compare the different offers made by payment service providers. But for the Austrian definitions we would suggest some changes. For the first definition on the list of the standardized terms and definitions we suggest the following: „Der Kontoanbieter verwaltet das Konto gemäß der Nutzung durch die Kunden und Kundinnen”. For the second definition on the list we suggest changing it to “Bereitstellung einer Zahlungskarte” and use the German definition for the Austrian version as well. For the third definition on the list we suggest changing the second sentence to: „Beträge aus Transaktionen innerhalb eines vereinbarten Zeitraums werden bis zum Ende des Zeitraumes als Kredit gewährt und dann in voller Höhe oder teilweise von dem Konto des Kunden abgebucht“ and for the third sentence to use the third sentence from the German version. Furthermore the last sentence of the definition about the „Kontoüberziehung“ should be extended as follows: “… in diesem Fall noch belastet werden kann und ob und in welcher Höhe dem Kunden Gebühren und Zinsen berechnet werden“. In the definition about the „Lastschrift“ the first sentence should be extended as follows: „Der Kunde ermächtigt eine andere Person oder ein Unternehmen (Empfänger) den Kontoanbieter anzuweisen, Geld…“.
In order to enhance the comparability and transparency of fees and also the cross-border comparability it is good to have standardized templates/documents. For consumers the template structure is easy to follow and provides an overview of the most important information a consumer needs in order to make an informed decision.
The common symbol is simply made and easy to remember. The colours are suited for symbols in connection with PSPs and the EU.
To achieve the aims of the Directive, it is necessary for the FID to look alike in the different Member States, but the proposed instructions are very strict and do not allow PSPs to modify the document. Therefore the PSPs could find themselves in situations, where they can not comply with national provisions, because they are not allowed to modify the FID or the SoF.
Recital 11 of the Directive states that Member States are allowed to retain or adopt more stringent provisions in order to protect consumers. The Payment Accounts Directive is a minimum directive. The Austrian legislator made use of it and stipulated stricter regulations in the Austrian consumer payment accounts act, regarding additional obligations to provide information.
In recital 22 and 23 of the Directive comparison websites are mentioned. Recital 22 states that comparison websites are “…an effective means for consumers to assess the merits of different payment account offers in one place” and that “…Member States should inform the public of such websites”. These websites contribute to achieve the aims of the Directive to enhance transparency and comparability of fees. Therefore it would make sense to include information about such websites in the FID and SoF.
The Austrian consumer payment accounts act states that the payment service providers have to include information about the comparison website run by the Austrian Chamber of Labour in the Fee Information Document and in the Statement of Fees. Therefore in Austria the payment service providers have additional obligations to provide information. But in the proposed templates there is no possibility or area where PSPs can add additional information and thereby be able to comply with the national provisions. It would make sense to put the information about the comparison website in the introductory statement at the beginning of the FID or SoF listed in the first bullet point or to create a special section in the templates for additional information. This should be included, because Austria won’t be the only Member State with stricter regulations concerning the obligations of payment service providers.
The proposed instructions are comprehensible and easy to follow.
In order to enhance the comparability and transparency of fees and also the cross-border comparability it is good to have standardized templates/documents. For consumers the template structure is easy to follow and provides an overview of the most important information concerning the fees and interest paid, the interest earned and the overall costs of the payment account. This allows consumers to make an informed decision about whether to keep the account or change to another PSP.
The common symbol looks akin to the common symbol on the FID template. Therefore it may be possible, that the consumers confuse the two.
See question 7.
The proposed instructions are comprehensible and easy to follow.
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Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection
Katharina Malek, LL.M. (WU)
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