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Finance

Access to bank accounts

EU rules allow consumers to open and change bank accounts anywhere in the EU.

Making banking easier

Bank accounts are an essential part of everyday life, allowing us to make and receive payments, shop online, and pay utility bills.

While banks can operate throughout the EU and offer their services across borders, their customers do not have the same flexibility. People often still find it difficult to open an account in another EU country or to change banks. In addition, bank fees are sometimes high and not particularly transparent.

Directive on payment accounts

The directive on payment accounts gives people in the EU the right to a basic payment account regardless of a person's place of residence or financial situation. The directive also improves the transparency of bank account fees and makes it easier to switch banks.

The European Commission makes the process of opening bank accounts easier and clearer for consumers.

The Fee information document is a short summary that banks must present to every client before signing a contract to open an account, showing the fees related to most common services.

The Statement of fees is a document that banks must present to every client, at least annually and for free, displaying all expenses incurred by customers as well as the information regarding the interest rates linked to an opened account.

You will find the full legislative acts on the implementing and delegated acts for the payment accounts directive's page.

Studies

Study | | Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

The general objective is to provide qualitative and quantitative evidence of the evolution of the payment accounts market in the EU since January 2014.

Quantification of the economic impacts of EU action to improve fee transparency, comparability and mobility in the Internal Market for personal payment accounts, 2013
English
(2.3 MB - PDF)
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Market study of the current state of play in Member States regarding initiatives in bank fee transparency and comparability in personal current bank accounts, 2012
English
(1.77 MB - PDF)
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Annex to Market study of the current state of play in Member States regarding initiatives in bank fee transparency and comparability in personal current bank accounts, 2012
English
(2.92 MB - PDF)
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Bank fees behaviour study, 2012
English
(4.36 MB - PDF)
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Consumer Market Study on the consumers’ experiences with bank account switching with reference to the Common Principles on Bank Account Switching, 2012
English
(2.7 MB - PDF)
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Documents

Factsheet: Access to payment accounts
English
(78.54 KB - PDF)
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Factsheet: Switching payment accounts
English
(79.99 KB - PDF)
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Factsheet: Presentation and comparison of payment account fees
English
(177.6 KB - PDF)
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