This article needs to be updated.(March 2014)
The Payment Services Directive (PSD, 2007/64/EC) is an EU Directive, administered by 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.
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. 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. Although the PSD is a maximum harmonisation Directive, certain elements allow for different options by individual countries.
The PSD contains two main sections:
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.
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".
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.
On October 8, 2015, the European Parliament adopted the European Commission proposal to create safer and more innovative European payments (PSD2). The new rules aim to better protect consumers when they pay online, promote the development and use of innovative online and mobile payments, and make cross-border European payment services safer.
Commissioner Jonathan Hill, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said, "This legislation is a step towards a digital single market; it will benefit consumers and businesses, and help the economy grow."
The EU and many banks are pushing this development with the new Payments Service Directive 2 (PSD2), which will come into force in 2018. Banks need to adapt to these changes that open many technical challenges, but also lot strategic opportunities for the future.
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