Question ID:
Legal Act:
Directive 2015/2366/EU (PSD2)
Strong customer authentication and common and secure communication (incl. access)
COM Delegated or Implementing Acts/RTS/ITS/GLs/Recommendations:
Regulation (EU) 2018/389 - RTS on strong customer authentication and secure communication
Disclose name of institution / entity:
Type of submitter:
Credit institution
Subject Matter:
Payment accounts and reference accounts

Are payment accounts, which are coupled with a reference account, in scope of PSD2 especially Regulation (EU) 2018/389 – RTS on strong customer authentication (SCA) and secure communication (CSC)?

Background on the question:

The payment accounts of our customers are coupled with a reference account. The account owner has to be the same person for payment account and reference account. A reference account is an external account to be specified by the customer when he opens an account and to which retransfers can be send. Funds from the payment account can only be transferred to the coupled reference account. Receiving Funds to be credited the payment account is independent from the reference account. The origin of credited funds is not necessarily the reference account.

This differs to the scope of Case C-191/17 (is handled by the court of justice of the European Union), where the origin of credited funds must be the reference account.

This leads us to the question, what defines a payment account in sense of the PSD2.

Date of submission:
Published as Final Q&A:
Final Answer:

Article 4 (12) Directive 2015/2366/EU (PSD2) defines a payment account as an account held in the name of one or more payment service users which is used for the execution of payment transactions.

A payment transaction is defined in Article 4(5) PSD2 as an act, initiated by the payer or on his behalf or by the payee, of placing, transferring or withdrawing funds, irrespective of any underlying obligations between the payer and the payee.

The fact that the payment account is coupled with a reference account does not in itself affect its qualification as payment account.

To determine whether an account qualifies as payment account, one must assess whether the account can be used for the execution of payment transactions in conformity with the definitions above as interpreted by the European Court of Justice in its ruling in Case C-191/17. The account should allow for sending and receiving funds, including to and from a third party. Also, transactions should be made directly from the account without the use of an intermediary account.



The answers clarify provisions already contained in the applicable legislation. They do not extend in any way the rights and obligations deriving from such legislation nor do they introduce any additional requirements for the concerned operators and competent authorities. The answers are merely intended to assist natural or legal persons, including competent authorities and Union institutions and bodies in clarifying the application or implementation of the relevant legal provisions. Only the Court of Justice of the European Union is competent to authoritatively interpret Union law. The views expressed in the internal Commission Decision cannot prejudge the position that the European Commission might take before the Union and national courts.

Final Q&A
Answer prepared by:
Answer prepared by the European Commission because it is a matter of interpretation of Union law.