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ESBG response to EBA consultation under Payment Accounts Directive

ESBG response to EBA consultation under Payment Accounts Directive

Consultation leaves too little flexibility to Payment Service Providers (PSPs) with regard to the format of the FID.​




>> See the .pdf version




Publi​shed: 22 December 2017


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ESBG Response to the EBA Consultation on the Draft Regulatory Technical Standards setting out the standardised terminology for the most common services linked to a payment account, under Article 3(4) of PAD, Draft Implementing Technical Standards on the standardised presentation format of the fee information document and its common symbol, under Article 4(6) of the PAD and Draft Implementing Technical Standards on the standardised presentation format of the statement of fees and its common symbol, under Article 5(4) of the PAD

 

ESBG (European Savings and Retail Banking Group)

Rue Marie-Thérèse, 11 - B-1000 Brussels

​ESBG Transparency Register ID 8765978796-80

​December 2016



Question 1: Do you agree with the EBA's decision to take a broad approach to defining 'service'? Please explain your reasoning.

 

We recognise the difficulties the EBA encountered because the PAD does not clarify which services specifically constitute a "service" in the context of the PAD. We also recognise the benefits the EBA asserts to the broad approach to defining "service".

As the EBA explains, the broad approach leads to potential consequences during the integration phase by Member States. These consequences need to be carefully addressed so that they do not end up frustrating the overarching objectives of the PAD.

​The EBA itself originally supported the narrow approach in the guidelines "on national provisional lists of the most representative services linked to a payment account and subject to a fee under the Payment Accounts Directive" (2014/92/EU). Thus, examples of services mentioned in the guidelines were considerably granular. If the EBA now advocates a broad approach, it has to be ensured that there are no negative consequences for payment service providers (PSPs) in Member States that followed the above mentioned guidelines and have defined service the way the EBA has defined service in those guidelines.

 

Question 2: Do you consider the services that the EBA has selected for standardised terms and definitions to be suitable to achieve the aims of the Directive? Please explain your reasoning.

 

Generally speaking, we consider the services that the EBA has selected for the standardised terms and definitions to be, in principle, suitable to achieve the aims of the Directive. Nevertheless, as already mentioned, it is essential that the consequences of the revised view of the EBA (originally narrow approach; now broad approach) are carefully addressed.

However, the integration process might prove to be challenging. This is because it is still rather early to determine whether or not this selection of services will achieve the objectives of enhancing transparency and comparability under the PAD. This is due to the fact that the end result of this is highly dependent on the approach opted for by Member States for the integration in their respective national lists.

Finally, we especially welcome the EBA's decision that it would not be appropriate to treat the various combinations of online banking with other services as constituting the same service. We share the view of the EBA that a standardised definition in this case would not result in more transparency and true comparability for consumers.


​​Question 3: Do you consider the drafting decisions taken by the EBA for the standardised terms and definitions, and the resultant provisions in Recitals of the draft RTS, to be suitable for achieving the aims of the Directive of enhancing transparency and comparability? Please explain your reasoning.

 

To a large extent, we consider the drafting decisions taken by the EBA for the standardised terms and definitions to be suitable for achieving the aims of the Directive.

​We welcome the use of the third person. In light of cost-efficiency and environmental reasons, we also welcome the efforts of the EBA to find brief and direct terms, as well as using clear terminology and consumer oriented language while avoiding, if possible, the use of legal terminology. Nonetheless, the terms have to be specific enough to ensure legal certainty for consumers and PSPs alike. We would like the EBA to consider that the broad approach can potentially define terms that consumers are used to in connection with different (similar) services not linked to a payment account, but, for example, to a deposit account.

Nevertheless, we see the benefit of using language that is accessible to consumers. The EBA is correct in stating that this can only be a guiding principle and that there may be situations in which the Union standardised terminology will have to depart from this principle.

In Recital 4 of the draft RTS "account provider" should be replaced by "payment service provider".

Question 4: Do you consider the terms and definitions proposed by the EBA in the Annexes to the draft RTS, and the resultant provisions in the Recitals of the draft RTS, to be adequate for achieving the aims of the Directive of enhancing transparency and comparability? If not, please provide alternative terms and definitions and their underlying rationale.

 

While ESBG is in favour of standardisation of the relevant matter (to a degree), we believe that identifying the appropriate terms in all relevant languages is a task for which national associations would be better suited, owing to the multitude of specificities connected to the different Member States.

 

Question 5: Do you consider the FID template that is being proposed in the draft ITS and its Annex to be suitable to achieve the aims of the Directive? Please explain your reasoning.

 

1.       Entry into force

​According to Art. 6(1) of the Payment Accounts Directive (PAD), Member States shall ensure that in their contractual, commercial and marketing information to consumers, payment service providers (PSPs) use, where applicable, standardised terms set out in the final list referred to in Art. 3(5) of the PAD. This leads to extremely high costs of implementation for PSPs. Since the implementation of the requirements of the Payment Services Directive II (PSD II) will result in high implementation costs as well, a concurrent entry into force of both should be considered. Further a concurrent entry into force is also desirable because of environmental aspects and would be beneficial to the consumer as he would not be confronted several times with legally initiated changes to the contractual relationship with his PSP especially in relation to the same contracts, conditions or documents. This would allow for a better, clearer communication and education of account holders. We would therefore suggest that all three Technical Standards shall enter into force six months following their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

 

2.      Own and third party fees

It is our understanding that only fees originated by the PSP that provides the payment account that the FID relates to have to be displayed in the FID. Fees originated by third parties such as other payment service providers, do not have to be included in the FID.

​3.      Comments regarding the format of the FID

We find that the EBA has interpreted its mandate rather extensively, especially regarding the format of the FID.

Pursuant to the provision of Art. 4(6) of the PAD, the EBA was tasked to propose a "standardised presentation format". While the PAD refers to general criteria on format in relation to the FID (for example referring to characters of a readable size), in the draft ITS, the EBA defines an unprecedented level of detail for the FID. For instance, it attempts to set requirements regarding the format (including setting the page orientation as portrait), the required font type as well as font sizes, the location of the page number and the required line spacing.

We feel that the industrial cost needed to meet these requirements is disproportionate in relation to the benefits for consumers stemming therefrom.

​Furthermore, it is our view that harmonisation to such an extent does not serve the objective of readability for the following reasons:

  • In comparison, other pre-contractual documents like ESIS for mortgage credit or SECCI for consumer credit leave more freedom regarding their respective formats without simultaneously adversely affecting the comparability or readability thereof. 

  • The draft ITS do not meet the requirements of recital paragraph 20 of the PAD, which state that "the EBA should also take into account the fact that Member States may choose to provide the fee information document and the statement of fees together with information required pursuant to other Union or national legislative acts on payment accounts and related services". In relation thereto, it should be emphasised that the FID and the SoF are not the sole documents given to the customer and the search for their clarity and comparability at the European level must not be achieved at the expense of the clarity and comparability of all such remaining documents.

Moreover, the EBA has at times overstepped the clearly delineated legal boundaries of its mandate conferred upon it by the PAD. In particular, Art. 4(2)(g) of the PAD requires that the FID contains a statement and that it lists fees for the most representative services related to a payment account, whereas the complete pre-contractual as well as contractual information on all services is provided in other documents. However, the proposed wording of the FID introductory statement goes way beyond these requirements. It requires that documents are explicitly named. There is no legal basis to provide for an obligation of the PSP to name or refer to such documents. Furthermore, the proposed wording also obliges PSPs to inform consumers in the FID template that a glossary is available free of charge. The PAD does not entail any of these additional information requirements. They might be desirable from the consumer viewpoint. Nevertheless, the PAD has set a clear legal framework. It should, therefore, be respected when drafting the FID template, meaning that the introduction of new (additional) information obligations is not legally feasible.

​As for the practical application of the adopted format, the results of the quantitative testing did not show clear benefits deriving therefrom:

    • For more than one in four consumers (26%) the format contributes to the documents being difficult to understand.

    • Only 68% of all consumers said that "the format used in each document in terms of font style, font size, […] contributes to the documents being easy to understand". This means that the remaining 32% of consumers did not see any clear benefit based on the proposed format.


​ESBG's position is therefore that the EBA should allow for (more) flexibility regarding the format of the FID in order for it to retain its readability no matter the medium of transmission (in particular with regard to digital versions thereof). This applies even more so vis-à-vis the diversity of the content of the FID. From this perspective, the obligatory provision of this document in an A4 format appears neither to be adapted to the diversity of possibilities available today, nor is it absolutely necessary to ensure that the consumer receives all information required to reach his or her decision.

Moreover, we believe that instead of applying a legalistic approach to the matter, the intended end result should be a document which is easy to understand and is thereby to the benefit of the customer.​

4.      Comments regarding packages of services

Regarding packages of banking services, the commercial approach to this differs greatly from country to country. While in some countries PSPs do not provide packages, in others only basic packages are offered. 

Notwithstanding this, in France, for instance, numerous packages (often tailor made) are available in order to meet the needs of the highly diverse profiles of customers. Statistically, a French bank offers 5.5 packages on average (with a maximum number of packages offered by a single bank being 14). In addition, 81% of banks offer one or more customisable package(s) or semi-customisable package(s) of services. The degree of personalisation varies greatly from one bank to another, with a package base containing 7.50 services on average, with potentially up to 18 options. Notwithstanding the foregoing, generally speaking, payment services are evolving in the direction of hyper-personalisation of services. Taking into account also the presence of digital platforms, this may in time result in an indefinite number of packages offered by a single bank. 

While the PAD does not include any requirements regarding the presentation of several packages offered by a single PSP, the EBA in its draft ITS clearly establishes that "the information shall be provided for each package in a separate table".

This requirement combined with the immense constraint caused by the proposed format of the FID will lead to a significant increase in the length of the relevant documents (multiplication of the number of pages) which is in contradiction with the expected final outcome of the PAD, namely a short and succinct document. As a result, this also conflicts with the objective of readability as well as with the objective of comparability of the FID that the EBA was expected to follow.

We understand that the objective that the EBA had set for itself with the addition of a list of packages into the FID template was that of allowing a consumer to gauge their interest in a particular package as well as compare different packages with one another. However, given the plethora of different options at their disposal, comparability between packages is extremely hard at national level, whereas at the European level it is almost impossible. It is, therefore, more appropriate (as well as in the interest of keeping the relevant documentation short, succinct and hence readable) to provide the consumer with the "most commonly used package" along with the list of the representative  services linked to a payment account. This way, in accordance with recital paragraph 24 of the PAD, a consumer is given the opportunity to compare the global fee charged for a service as part of a (typical) package with the sum of fees charged for the same service if performed separately. Based on this, the consumer can then decide if packages would be of interest to them prima faciae. 

Moreover, the approach undertaken by the EBA would very likely prompt PSPs to renounce the possibility of customisation of packages. This corresponds to one of the concerns expressed in recital paragraph 24 of the PAD "[…] PSPs may offer payment accounts packaged with products not requested by consumers which are not essential for payment accounts […]". Hence, the desire to enhance comparability in this way effectively hinders the evolution of the provision of banking services as described above.

Therefore, if the goal of having a short document is to be met, then we would suggest that PSPs should be given the possibility to disclose only a single example of the package most commonly used by its consumers in the FID (provided that the PSP in question offers packages). Including only a single example of a package will at the same time be aligned with the spirit of the Directive to give information on the most commonly used services as well as with its goal to deliver a short document.

5.      Other

 Apart from the above, we would also like to propose certain targeted amendments:

    • Art. 4 (2) (g) of the PAD requires the FID template to include a statement that the FID contains fees for the most representative services related to the payment account and that complete pre-contractual and contractual information on all the services is provided in other documents. The proposed wording of the introductory statement goes beyond these requirements. There is no legal basis to provide for an obligation of the payment service provider to name or refer to such documents. Art. 6 (2) and the respective square brackets in the Annex should therefore be deleted.

    • In the Annex as well as the title of Art. 4 of the draft ITS on the FID, "Name of the Account provider" should be changed to "Name of the payment service provider" (see Art. 2 no 7 PAD)

    • We believe that the date of the FID should be included, as prices are regularly adjusted. It is thus necessary to ensure that the FID is up to date and the consumer receives the correct data along with a temporal frame of reference.

    • Recital 8, Art. 10 and the last table in the Annex should be deleted. Art. 4 of the PAD does not provide for the FID to include key indicators. According to Recital 19 of the PAD the "Member States may require key indicators such as a comprehensive cost indicator […] to be provided […] with the fee information document". Furthermore the comprehensive cost indicator is only one example of possible key indicators. Therefore, if not deleted, in the Annex as well as in Recital paragraph 8 and Art. 10, the wording "Comprehensive cost indicator" in the last box should be changed to "Key indicator".

    • If not deleted, in Recital 8, the wording "in the fee information document" should be changed to "with the fee information document" to match the exact wording of Recital 19 of the PAD.

    • In some countries banking fees are partly subject to taxes. It should therefore be explicitly mentioned in the draft ITS that, if applicable, taxes shall be included in the fees displayed.

    • The currency in which the fees are indicated should be displayed using the ISO code, (i.e. for instance by writing EUR and not by using the € symbol like in the example on pages 29 ff.).

 

Lastly, although we recognise the difficulty of generating a unique template for ex-ante communications of fees to customers, we cannot help but be worried about the fact that digital means have not been considered under these draft ITS. The use of the template should be less restrictive, as its application in paper format is expected to reduce abruptly in the near future. In actuality, comparability might prove to be more difficult to achieve given the proposed limitations regarding the format as well as the all-encompassing process of digitisation. In order to ensure that customers are properly informed, digital platforms and ex-ante online communications via different channels (computers, tablets, mobile phones and so on) should be promoted. We do, however, welcome the fact that the EBA decided not to add grid lines to the FID.

 

Question 6: Do you consider the common symbol in the FID template that is being proposed in the draft ITS and its Annex suitable to achieve the aims of the Directive? Please explain your reasoning.

 

With regard to the common symbol in the FID template, we would like to make an observation and a suggestion:

Although it is true that 50% of consumers tested agreed that the proposed symbol makes the document distinguishable from other documentation, it is also worth noting that the remaining half of the respondents disagreed with this or did not know whether or not they perceived this to be true.

This result showing only a limited potential benefit for consumers has to be weighed against the potentially significant industrial cost needed to meet the requirements of the ITS.

In branches it is not always possible to print in colour. However, it is common practice to feed printers with a letterhead, which already includes the bank logo in colour.

We would therefore suggest softening the requirement set out in paragraph 2 of Art. 3 of the relevant ITS: Taking into account the wide diversity of printing equipment available, the constraints in terms of print quality of the document (colour versus black and white) should be reduced in cases of printing at a branch or a banking terminal. Namely, we believe that a document's readability and distinctiveness will be ensured even if the document is printed with a common symbol displayed in black and white, should the logo of the PSP be printed in colour. Therefore, we would like to suggest that more flexibility is afforded regarding these symbols and particularly that they could be displayed in black and white even if the logo of the PSP is printed in colour. It should be clarified which reference code of the RGB colour model is to be used for the common symbol if printed in colour.

Moreover, it would be of great benefit to consumers and PSPs alike if the SoF could be provided to the consumer via a bank statement printer. This is impossible if the symbol consists of drawings. We therefore suggest that the symbol be constructed of letters (e.g. EU – SoF). To ensure similarity between the FID and the SoF, we would suggest the same for the common symbol in the FID template (e.g. EU-FID)(see our answer to Question 10 below for further detail).

​ESBG feels that the obligation stipulating that the same requirements regarding size (a square no larger than 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm) apply to both to the common symbol and to the logo of a PSP is too limiting. While a precise printing surface may be defined for the common symbol, the visual identity of certain PSPs, contingent heavily upon their respective logos, would often hardly fit into a square of this size. We would therefore like to suggest that these requirements be adjusted to become less restrictive.

 

Question 7: Do you consider the proposed instructions for the completion of the FID template contained in Articles 2 to 11 of the draft ITS, to be suitable to achieve the aims of the Directive? Please explain your reasoning.

 

The following is a short summary of our previous answers. Please refer to answers to Questions 5 and 6 for details on our answer to this particular question.

  • ​Art. 3: We would suggest softening the requirement set out in Art. 3(2) of the relevant ITS: Taking into account the wide diversity of printing equipment available, all colour/black & white combinations between the logo of the PSP and the common symbol should be allowed. Moreover, we feel the rules regarding the size of the logo of the PSP contained in the draft ITS are too limiting. Please refer to our answer to Question 6 for details on this.

  • Art. 4: We would suggest that the title thereof is changed to "Name of the payment service provider". Please refer our answer to Question 6 for details on this.

  • Art. 6: The "Introductory statement" goes beyond PAD which does not require the payment service provider to inform the consumer in the FID that a glossary is available free of charge. With respect of which information should be included in the FID, the ITS on this should be limited to the requirements laid down in Art. 4(2) of the PAD. Please refer to our answer to Question 5 for details on this.

  • Art. 7: "Table on Package of services" covers cases where one or more services are offered as part of a package linked to a payment account: if we want to meet the goal to have a short document and also to respect the PAD requirement of readability, we would suggest the option that a PSP could, at their discretion, only disclose additional information on a single example of the package "most commonly used" services by its consumers in the FID. This will, at the same time, be aligned with the spirit of the PAD to select "the most commonly used services" (Art.3(2)a) as well as with its goal to deliver a short document. Please refer to our answer to Question 5 for details on this.

  •  The PAD does not require to display the total annual costs in the FID. Therefore all provisions requiring PSPs to include total annual costs should be deleted (Art. 7(2); Art. 8(1)).

  • Recital 8, Art. 10 and the last table in in the Annex should be deleted. For more on this, please refer to our answer to Question 5.

 

Question 8: Do you consider the proposed instructions for the completion of the FID template contained in Articles 2 to 11 of the draft ITS, to be clear and easy to follow? Please explain your reasoning.

 

We welcome Recital 4 of the ITS, which states that the FID should be easily produced by PSPs, and that there should be clear instructions as to how to fill it out.

In large part, the instructions laid down in Arts. 2 to 11 meet this goal. Nonetheless, there are a few points that need clarification:

  • Art. 3 logo of the payment provider: It is our understanding that the box currently included in the FID template in the upper left corner is only a placeholder and that the logo does not need to be framed by this box. This would be impossible in many cases.

  • Art. 11 brand names: before the word "starting", "if possible" should be inserted as there might be (future) cases where the name of the service completely fills a line or a hyphenation of the first word of the brand name would be grammatically incorrect.

 

Question 9: Do you consider the SoF template that is being proposed in draft ITS and its Annex to be suitable to achieve the aims of the Directive? Please explain your reasoning.

 

1.       Entry into force

As stated above in the answer to Question 5, the standardisation of terms entails high costs for PSPs. Since the implementation of the requirements of the Payment Services Directive II (PSD II) will result in high implementation costs as well, a concurrent entry into force of both should be considered. Further, a concurrent entry into force is also desirable because of environmental aspects and would be beneficial to the consumer as they would not be confronted several times with legally initiated changes to the contractual relationship with their PSP especially in relation to the same contracts, conditions or documents. This would allow for a better, clearer communication and education of account holders. We would therefore once more like to suggest that all three Technical Standards shall enter into force six months following their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

​2.      Own and third party fees

It is our understanding that only fees originated by the PSP that provides the payment account that the SoF relates to have to be displayed in the SoF. Fees originated by third parties, such as other payment service providers, do not have to be included in the SoF.

 

3.      Comments regarding the format of the SoF

On the format, we would like to firstly reiterate our position that we expressed above (regarding the FID, please refer to our answer to Question 5). Namely, we feel that when preparing the SoF template, the EBA has overstepped the limits of its mandate.

​We would like to once again propose that more leeway is afforded with respect to the format of the SoF for the reasons described in our answer to Question 5. Furthermore, we would like to reiterate our concerns on digital versions of the SoF not having been foreseen, thereby not properly taking into account the process of digitisation. Therefore, the requirements to provide the SoF as a document of an A4 format appears neither to be adapted to the diversity of today's possibilities with regard to different media channels, nor is it necessary to ensure that the consumer has received all information required to make sound decisions.

Moreover, we would like to propose the following modifications be made to the SoF template:

  • There is no legal basis in the PAD to provide for the SoF to contain any introductory statement. Art. 4 (2) (g) PAD refers to the FID only. While the relevant ITS do not contain any mention of the Introductory Statement, the template serving as an annex thereto does include such a statement without any legal basis therefor.

  • Regarding unit fees charged in some countries these may vary throughout the year. Therefore, it would be useful for the PSPs from those countries, as well as for the respective national authorities, if mode values of the unit fees charged would be allowed to be presented. This is due to the fact that national authorities in these countries require mode values of fees charged to be presented in documents very similar to the FID.

  • In Recital 3 in the passage "expressed in the currency of the payment account, or in another currency of the Union" the words "of the Union" should be deleted in order to match the exact wording of the PAD.

  • Recital 6 and Art. 10(4) and the respective tables in the SoF template "Key cost indicator" under "Summary of fees and interest" should be deleted. The reference to Recital 19 of the PAD is not correct regarding the SoF. Recital 19 of the PAD states that "Member States should be able to require key indicators such as a comprehensive cost indicator summarising the overall annual cost of the payment account for consumers to be provided with the fee information document." Recital 19 does not state that Member States should be able to require key indicators such as a comprehensive cost indicator to be provided in the statement of fees.

  • A4 portrait format (Art. 1(3)a) and Different colour patterns for headings and sub-headings (Art. 1(3)e): It would be of benefit to consumers and PSPs alike if the SoF could be provided to consumers via a bank statement printer. This is not possible if it is mandatory to display A4 portrait format or when the headings and sub-headings have to be printed out in different colours. We would like, therefore, to reiterate our suggestion to provide for more flexibility on the format.

 

4.      Comments regarding packages of banking services


Pursuant to Art. 11(1)a of the ITS, PSPs are required to provide information on the content of the packages while this is not a requirement contained in the provisions of the PAD.

​The main underlying objective at this stage is to allow the consumer to estimate the cost of their consumption of the banking services that they have already chosen and subscribed to, and not to give them commercial information on the content of the offers. This information was provided to them prior to this in the FID as well as in the relevant contractual documents.

We would therefore suggest that the EBA does not keep the above mentioned requirement, as PAD provides no legal basis for such an obligation. Furthermore, it would have a negative impact on the readability of the SoF, owing to the increase of its volume as a consequence of this requirement. We consider it essential that the SoF is a short document.

 

5.      Comments regarding the distinction between services used and services charged

 

The draft ITS require for the statement of fees included in the package of services subscribed to by the consumer (Art. 11) and for the statement of fees of each service linked to the payment account (Art. 12) to display the number of times that these different fees have been charged. Such information could be impossible to provide in certain cases. An example of this are flat fees or capped fees. Moreover, such a requirement is not compliant with the provision of Art. 5(2(a)) of the PAD, which states that the consumer must be informed on the number of times the service was used during the period and not the number of times the service was charged.

Considering that it is possible that a service is used but not charged or fully charged, we would suggest retaining the reference of a service used, which is more relevant for the consumer as well as consistent with the PAD.

​Furthermore, reductions/discounts will be difficult to present in the SoF (except at the bottom of the document under the heading "Additional information"). We would therefore like to suggest that for purposes of clarity and better visibility they be allowed to be displayed, at the choice of the PSP, either in an additional column, as an additional fee line complementing any statement of a fee charged, or under additional information.

 

6.      Additional suggestion

 

Possibility to delete irrelevant tables: We would suggest that the possibility to delete the table "Detail of interest paid on the account" (Art. 13 of the ITS) and the table "Detail of interest earned on the account" (Art. 14 of the ITS), as well as the respective tables in the summary of fees and interest be given when no interest is charged to or earned by the consumer (in line with Arts 11(4) and 12(10) of the same ITS). This would be in line with Art. 5(1) of the PAD: "[…] as well as, where applicable, information regarding the interest rates […]".

Moreover, such a possibility would allow for the substantial shortening of the SoF.

​For more on this, please refer to our answers to question 12.

 

 

Question 10: Do you consider the common symbol that is being proposed in the draft ITS and its Annex to be suitable to achieve the aims of the Directive? Please explain your reasoning.

 

Similarly to the proposed common symbol of the FID, we would also like to make an observation and put forward some remarks regarding the common symbol in the SoF template.

Although it is true that 52% of all consumers participating in the survey agreed that the proposed symbol makes the document distinguishable from other documentation, it is also worth noting that the remaining respondents disagreed or did not know whether this is the case.

This result, reflecting a measured and clearly limited potential benefit to consumers, has to be weighed against the potentially significant industrial cost required to meet the requirements of the ITS.

Annual statements of fees that some PSPs have been required to produce by national law in some countries for quite some time now are mainly printed in black and white by huge national document processing platforms using bulky rolls of paper. With regard to such annual statements of fees, the graphics standards of any PSP (logo and legal notices) are allowed to be printed beforehand and in colour. This is useful because a PSP usually has at hand a large volume of paper, which already includes the logo of the PSP as well as legal notices. Therefore, printing only the common symbol in colour while the rest of the document would be printed in black and white would impose costly changes in how preparing huge amounts of documents is approached.

Moreover, in branches or at banking terminals it is not always possible to print in colour, but it is a common practice to feed printers with a letterhead, which already includes the logo of the PSP in colour.

We would therefore suggest softening the requirement set out in Art. 3(2) of the relevant ITS; taking into account the wide diversity of printing equipment available, the constraints in terms of print quality of the document (colour versus black and white) should be reduced at the very least in cases of printing at a branch or a banking terminal.

Similarly, we believe that the document's readability and comparability will be ensured even if the document is printed with a common symbol displayed in black and white, should the logo of a PSP be printed in colour. Therefore, we would like to suggest that more flexibility is afforded regarding these symbols and particularly that they could be displayed in black and white even if the logo of the PSP is printed in colour. It should be clarified which reference code of the RGB colour model is to be used for the common symbol if printed in colour.

Similarly, we find the obligation requiring that the same requirements regarding size (a square no larger than 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm) apply to both to the common symbol and to the logo of a PSP to be too confining. While a precise size may be easily defined for the common symbol, the visual identity of certain PSPs is contingent heavily upon their respective logos. These logos would, however, often be difficult to fit into a square of this size. We would therefore like to suggest that these requirements be softened.

​Moreover, as stated above, it would be a great benefit for consumers and PSPs alike if the SoF could be provided to the consumer via a bank statement printer. This is impossible if the symbol consists of drawings. We therefore suggest that the symbol be constructed of letters (e.g. EU – SoF).


Question 11: Do you consider the proposed instructions for payment services providers on how to complete the SoF template contained in Articles 2 to 16 of the draft ITS, to be suitable to achieve the aims of the Directive? Please explain your reasoning.

Please generally refer to our answer to Questions 9 and 10. However, below you will find a short description of our main points:

Art. 3: We would suggest softening the requirement set out in paragraph 2 of this article. All colour/ black & white combinations between the logo of the PSP and the common symbol should be allowed. This will take into account the wide diversity of printing equipment available in branches and the industrial printing processes already in place. Moreover, the softening of the requirement regarding the size of the logo of the PSP contained in the first paragraph should also be considered. Please refer to our answer to Question 10 for more details on this.

Art. 10: All references to a key indicator should be deleted. For more on this, please refer to our answer to Question 9.

Art. 11: We suggest that the EBA does away with the requirement to provide information on the content of all packages based on the fact that such a requirement is not contained in the provisions of the PAD. We would also suggest retaining the reference of a service used. This term is more relevant for the consumer and consistent with the provisions of the PAD. Given the fact that reductions/discounts will be difficult to present in the SoF (except at the bottom of the document under the heading "Additional information"), we would also suggest that for purposes of clarity and better visibility they be allowed to be displayed, at the choice of the PSP, either in an additional column, as an additional fee line in credit complementing any statement of a fee charged, or be listed under additional information. Please refer to our answer to Question 9 for details on this.

Art. 12: We would suggest retaining the reference to "service used". Moreover, the unit fees charged item should correspond to mode values of fees charged. Given the fact that reductions/discounts will be difficult to present in the SoF (except at the bottom of the document under the heading "Additional information"), we would also suggest that for purposes of clarity and better visibility they be allowed to be displayed, at the choice of the PSP, either in an additional column, as an additional fee line in credit complementing any statement of a fee charged, or be listed under additional information. Please refer to our answer to Question 9 for more on this.

Art. 13: We would suggest that the possibility to delete the table "Detail of interest paid on the account" be given to PSPs when no interest is charged to the consumer. Please refer to our answer to Question 9 for details on this.

Art. 14: We would suggest that the possibility to delete the table "Detail of interest earned on the account" be given to PSPs when no interest is earned by the consumer. Please refer to our answer to Questions 9 and 12 for details on this.


Question 12: Do you consider the proposed instructions for PSPs on how to complete the SoF template, contained in Articles 2 to 16 of the draft ITS, to be clear and easy to follow? Please explain your reasoning.

We welcome Recital 7 of the Implementing Regulation that states that the SoF should be easily produced by payment services providers and that there should be clear instructions as to how to complete the fee information document.

​To a large part the instructions laid down in Arts. 2 to 16 meet this goal. Still there are a few points that we feel need clarification:

It is our understanding that the box currently included in the FID template in the upper left corner is only a placeholder and that the logo does not need to be framed by this box. This would be impossible in many cases.

In the Annex as well as the title of Art. 4 of the draft ITS on the SoF, "Name of the Account provider" should be changed to "Name of the payment service provider" (see Art. 2 no 7 PAD).

Art. 10(2) and (3) should be deleted. There is no legal basis in the PAD to provide for the SoF to contain such information. Art. 10 (2) and (3), Art. 13(5) and Art. 14 (4) last sentence as well as Art. 14(7) of the draft ITS state that if interest during the period covered by the SoF amounts to zero, this should be indicated by using "0" or "interest not applicable". This requirement goes beyond the requirements set under the PAD (Art. 5 (2)), which state that only the total amount of interest "charged" and total amount of interest "earned" have to be displayed in the SoF.

Art. 12(10) states that where a sub-heading does not contain any service and/or fee, PSPs shall delete that subheading. It should be clarified that the entire table shall be deleted if it does not contain any services and/or fees. Please refer also to our answer to Question 9 for a similar argument to this.

The wording "paid on the account" (Art. 13) should be replaced with "charged on the account" to match the wording of the PAD (Art. 5 (2) (c).

The following should be inserted after "expressed in the currency of the account" (Art. 13(3)): "or, if agreed by the consumer and the payment service provider, in another currency". This is because Art. 5 (3) of the PAD is not restricted to fees but applies also to interests.

Art. 13 refers to interest paid on the account. Therefore, paragraph 5, which refers to interest earned on the account (see also Section 4.5.2, no. 126 of the Consultation Paper), is misplaced and should be deleted.

It should be clarified that if no interest is applicable to the account or no interest was charged in the relevant period the entire table should be deleted. Any information stating that interest is not applicable is not required by the PAD, it contradicts the goals of the directive as well as bearing no additional benefit for the consumer. The PAD also states that only the overdraft interest rate applied to the account needs to be contained in the SoF. We therefore suggest to redraft Art. 13(5) as follows: "Where no interest was charged on the account during the relevant period payment service providers shall delete the entire table and also the respective table under summary of fees and interest".

The following should be inserted after "expressed in the currency of the account" (Art. 14(4)): "or, if agreed by the consumer and the payment service provider, in another currency". This is because Art. 5(3)(b) of the PAD is not restricted to fees but applies also to interests.

Art. 14(4) last sentence Art. 14(5) and Art. 14(7) should be deleted. Any information stating that interest is not applicable or amounts to zero in the relevant period is not required by the PAD and contradicts the goals of the directive as it might be misleading to the consumer. We therefore suggest to redraft Art. 14 (5) as follows: "Where a particular does not pay interest during the relevant period payment service providers shall delete the entire table and also the respective table under summary of fees and interest".

Art. 16 stipulates that the brand name of a service shall be inserted directly after the name of the service, starting on the same line. There might be cases where the name of the service completely fills a line or a hyphenation of the first word of the brand name would be grammatically incorrect. Therefore, Art. 16 should be adapted to provide for the insertion of the brand name starting in the same line "if possible".

Under "Detailed statement of fees paid on the account" (Annex – SoF template) the heading "Number of times the fee was charged" should be changed to "Number of times the service was used" to match the exact wording of the PAD (Art. 5(2)(a)).

In some countries banking fees are partly subject to taxes. It should therefore be explicitly mentioned in the draft ITS that, if applicable, taxes shall be included in the fees displayed.

​The currency in which the fees are indicated should be displayed using the ISO code, (i.e. by using for instance EUR and not by using the € symbol like in t​he example on page 29 and the following).

About ESBG (European Savings and Retail Banking Group)

​ESBG brings together nearly 1000 savings and retail banks in 20 European countries that believe in a common identity for European policies. ESBG members represent one of the largest European retail banking networks, comprising one-third of the retail banking market in Europe, with 190 million customers, more than 60,000 outlets, total assets of €7.1 trillion, non-bank deposits of €3.5 trillion, and non-bank loans of €3.7 trillion. ESBG members come together to agree on and promote common positions on relevant regulatory or supervisory matters.

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European Savings and Retail Banking Group – aisbl

Rue Marie-Thérèse, 11 ■ B-1000 Brussels ■ Tel: +32 2 211 11 11 ■ Fax : +32 2 211 11 99

Info@wsbi-esbg.org ■ www.wsbi-esbg.org

 

Published by ESBG. Date: 22 December 2016

 

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Supervision; Regulation; European Institutions; European Supervisory Authorities (EBA-ESMA)