Payment Services Directive

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The Payment Services Directive (PSD) was a 2007 initiative from the European Commission (Directorate General Internal Market) to regulate payment services and payment service providers throughout the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA). The Directive's purpose was to increase pan-European competition and participation in the payments industry also from non-banks, and to provide for a level playing field by harmonizing consumer protection and the rights and obligations for payment providers and users.[1]

Overview[edit]

The SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) is a self-regulatory initiative by the European banking sector represented in the European Payments Council, which defines the harmonization of payment products, infrastructures and technical standards (Rulebooks for Credit Transfer/Direct Debit, BIC, IBAN, ISO 20022 XML message format, EMV chip cards/terminals). The PSD provides the legal framework within which all payment service providers must operate.

The PSD's purpose in regard to the payments industry was to increase pan-European competition with participation also from non-banks, and to provide for a level playing field by harmonizing consumer protection and the rights and obligations for payment providers and users.[1] The PSD's purpose in regard to consumers was to increase customer rights, guarantee faster payments, no later than next day from 1 January 2012 on, describe refund rights, give clearer information on payments.[2] Although the PSD is a maximum harmonisation Directive, certain elements allow for different options by individual countries.[3]

The final adopted text of PSD went into force 25 December 2007[4] and was to be transposed into national legislation by all EU and EEA member states by 1 November 2009 at the latest.[5]

Technical Overview[edit]

The PSD contains two main sections:

  1. The 'market rules' describe, which type of organizations can provide payment services. Next to credit institutions (i.e. banks) and certain authorities (e.g. central banks, government bodies), the PSD mentions Electronic Money Institutions, created by the E-Money Directive in 2000, and created the new category of 'Payment Institutions' with its own prudential regime rules. Organizations that are not credit institutions or EMIs, can apply for an authorization as a Payment Institution if they meet certain capital and risk management requirements, in any EU country of their choice where they are established and then "passport" their payment services into other EU member states without additional PI requirements.
  2. The 'business conduct rules' specify what transparency of information payment service institutions need to provide, including any charges, exchange rates, transaction references and maximum execution time. It stipulates the rights and obligations for both payment service providers and users, how to authorize and execute transactions, liability in case of unauthorized use of payment instruments, refunds on payments, revoking payment orders, and value dating of payments.

Each country had to designate a 'Competent Authority' for prudential supervision of the PIs and to monitor compliance with business conduct rules, as transposed into national legislation.[6]

Updates[edit]

The PSD was updated in 2009 (EC Regulation 924/2009) and 2012 (EU Regulation 260/2012). An implementation report from 2013 found the PSD facilitated "provision of uniform payment services across the EU" and reduced legal and production costs for many payment service providers and that "the expected benefits have not yet been fully realised". The same report found the 2009 update "... to be functioning well. For example, charges for 100 EUR transfers followed a further downward trend to 0.50 EUR euro-area average for transfers initiated online and remained low, at 3.10 EUR for transfers initiated at the bank counter".[7]

Remaining issues[edit]

  1. The PSD only applies to payments within the European Economic Area, but not to transactions to or from third countries.
  2. PSD exemptions related to payment activities leave users unprotected.
  3. The PSD option for merchants to charge a fee or give a rebate, combined with the option for countries to limit this, has led to "extreme heterogeneity in the market".
  4. So-called “third party payment service providers” have emerged, which facilitate online shopping by offering low cost payment solutions on the internet by using the customers' home online banking application with their agreement, and informing merchants that the money is on its way. Other ‘account information services’ offer consolidated information on different accounts of a payments service user.

Harmonisation of refund rules regarding direct debits, a reduction of the scope of the “simplified regime” for so-called “small payment institutions” and addressing security, access to information on payment accounts or data privacy with possible licensing and supervision have been proposed.[7]

Key dates[edit]

  • March 2000: Lisbon Agenda to make Europe “the world’s most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy” by 2010
  • December 2001: regulation EC 2560/2001 on cross-border payments in Euro
  • 2002: European Payments Council created by the banking industry, driving the Single Euro Payments Area initiative to harmonize the main non-cash payment instruments across the Euro area (by end 2010)
  • 2001–2004: consultation period and preparation of PSD
  • December 2005: proposal for PSD by DG Internal Market Commissioner McCreevy
  • 25 December 2007: PSD entered into force
  • 1 November 2009: deadline for transposition in national legislation
  • 2009 update: eliminated differences in charges for cross-border and national payments in euro (EC Regulation 924/2009)
  • 2012 update: Regulation on cross-border payments, 'multilateral interchange fees'(EU Regulation 260/2012)
  • July 2013: report on implementation of PSD and its two updates[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Dimitrios Linardatos: "Das Haftungssystem im bargeldlosen Zahlungsverkehr nach Umsetzung der Zahlungsdiensterichtlinie", Nomos-Verlag, 2013, ISBN 978-3-8487-0709-6. (German)

External links[edit]