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E-payments in Europe Become Easier, Safer, Cheaper

Electronic payments are set to become safer, cheaper and easier, according to the European Commission’s latest guidelines presented by the General Consumer Federation of Greece (INKA).

More specifically, according to the rules covering all forms of e-payments, including credit transfers, direct debits, card payments etc, European citizens can now make payments across Europe – including in the EU, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein – as easily and safely as in their home country.

  • Merchants can no longer impose extra charges for payments with cards issued in the EU.
  • Cash withdrawals in euro outside your bank ATM network should cost you the same in another member state as in your home country.
  • A single euro account allows you to make all your payments across Europe.
  • Cross-border payments in euro will cost you the same as domestic payments in euro.
  • Cross-border payments in euro will cost you the same as domestic payments in your national currency.
  • Additionally, every consumer legally residing in the EU has the right to at least a basic payment account free of charge or for a reasonable fee.
  • You also have the right to know what charges, if any, apply to your payments.

Lastly, safety has been a key priority. Since last September, electronic payments have been made more secure through the use of strong customer authentication, including a combination of authentication factors such as PIN and fingerprint.

Your liability in case of an unauthorized payment – for instance if your credit card is stolen – is limited to a maximum of 50 euros.

Where a final card payment amount is not known in advance (eg car rentals or hotel costs), a merchant can only block an agreed amount on your card with your approval.

With ‘direct debit’ you have eight weeks to challenge any unduly charged amount. You must be reimbursed within 10 working days.

For more on rights and rules listed in the EU’s revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), Payment Accounts Directive and other EU legislation, aiming to ensure safer and more convenient payments go here.

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