The European Parliament has adopted new rules to govern cross-border payments services, in line with a deal agreed by finance ministers from across the EU last month.
The payments services directive creates a legal framework for the Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa), which will comes into operation next year. Sepa will cover transactions by electronic transfer, online payments as well as traditional banking transactions. The aim is to make payments across national borders by card or electronic transfer as cheap as transactions within states.
The directive will now go to the EU Council for formal adoption and then to the 27 members states to be passed into national law by November 2009. But the deal hammered out by the finance ministers means that this is unlikely to be controversial.
But research commissioned by IT services firm LogicaCMG and published in October found that UK and European banks were struggling to get ready for Sepa. The survey of more than 100 high street banks, found more than three quarters were “just doing the minimum” to meet 2008 requirements.