(adds other proposals from draft document)
By Francesco Guarascio
BRUSSELS, March 15 The European Commission will
propose rules by the end of 2017 to cut retail fees imposed on
cross-border payments made inside the EU with currencies other
than the euro, according to a draft document of planned
regulatory changes to consumer financial services.
EU regulations already ensure equal pricing on transaction
charges for transnational payments within the euro zone made in
euros, but charges for other EU currencies such as the British
pound and Polish zloty are not regulated.
The document shows the EU executive plans to extend the
rules to all EU currencies on transactions made across the
"Fees for such cross-border transactions typically remain
very high and well above the level of fees for purely national
transactions in non-euro currencies, with high minimum fees that
make small transactions very expensive," the Commission said in
a document expected to be formally adopted next week.
The measure, if approved by legislators and EU states, would
hit banks who profit the most from the charges. Internet-based
payment services have developed in recent years offering lower
The "Consumer finance action plan" draft said the Commission
will by mid 2018 also consider measures to increase the
transparency of conversion rates for EU consumers using payment
cards or withdrawing money in other member states, in a bid to
bring down costs for shoppers.
Brussels also plans to make it easier for consumers to
switch between retail financial services and to improve the
reliability of comparison websites, the document showed.
The paper, which lists priority actions in retail financial
services for the next two years, also proposes increasing the
price-transparency and protection for people renting cars as
well as drivers who are victims of accidents outside their
It also proposes common standards to assess consumers'
financial credentials by the end of next year to make it easier
to get a loan in a foreign EU country.
The Commission also said it plans to favour the take-up of
innovative financial services, known as fintech, although no
concrete proposals are included in the action plan.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Alastair
Macdonald and Richard Lough)