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Call for Tenders: Study on EU Payment Accounts Market

Brussels, Belgium, 21 September 2018


The Payment Accounts Directive2 lays down rules in three areas:

  • the transparency and comparability of fees charged to consumers on their payment accounts held within the EU;

  • the switching of payment accounts within a Member State and to facilitate the crossborder opening of accounts by consumers within the EU;

  • requirements on Member States to guarantee a right for consumers to open and use payment accounts with basic features in the EU.

The implementation of the Payment Accounts Directive should result in a more transparent, efficient and competitive European market for retail banking.

The right to open a payment account with basic features anywhere in the EU as conferred by the Payment Accounts Directive is only limited by the need to comply with EU anti-money laundering rules. A payment account with basic features provides access to essential payment services, including cash withdrawals, transfers of funds and the use of a payment card.

Under the Directive, Member States ensure that consumers are able to compare payment account fees. By way of national measures transposing the Directive, payment service providers must provide consumers with a fee information document and a statement of fees detailing key information on the fees charged as well as a glossary of standardised terms relating to the most representative fee-paying services linked to a payment account.

Consumers shall also have access to at least one comparison website at national level comparing these fees. Member States also ensure that consumers are able to switch accounts easily, including transfers of standing orders and direct debits, should they find a better offer from a different bank. To this end, the Directive provides for an expedient switching procedure, with minimal administrative and economic inconvenience to consumers.

Thus, more transparent fee information and switching possibilities, combined with the right of access to a payment account with basic features, would allow Union citizens to more easily relocate and seek the most advantageous retail banking products within the Union, thereby benefitting from a better functioning of the internal market in the area of retail financial services. As of July 2018, all but one Member State have notified full transposition of the Payment Accounts Directive.

Under Article 28 of the Directive (Review), the Commission is required to carry out a review of the Payment Accounts Directive. This entails a comprehensive assessment of the Directive's impact, as well as an in-depth analysis of possible further improvements of its provisions. The study envisaged by these tender specifications will be an essential contribution to the collection of evidence, analysis and recommendations required for the Commission's review foreseen in the Directive.


The general objective of the study is to provide qualitative and quantitative evidence about the evolution of the payment accounts market in the EU since January 2014, with a view to informing the Commission's review of the Payment Accounts Directive.

The specific objectives of the studies are:

  • to provide the Commission with backward-looking analysis on the extent to which the objectives of the Payment Accounts Directive have been achieved;

  • to provide the Commission with analysis of other aspects of the EU payment accounts market not presently covered in the Directive as well as of first impacts of the newly introduced fee transparency requirements;

  • to identify any further policy measures that should be envisaged in connection with the objectives of the Payment Accounts Directive, taking account of the changing technological and market context.

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