Fees for Payment Account-Linked Services in One Place
The application of the provisions of the Law on Amendments and Supplements to the Law on Payment Services, which envisage greater transparency of fees charged by service providers, as well as improved information and protection for payment services users, began on 17 March (except for the provisions of Articles 28 to 30 which will apply as of the day Serbia accedes to the EU).
The most important new solutions enshrined in the above Law relate to the standardization of terminology in this field, so that the users could get familiar with the meaning of the key payment services in a simple and understandable way and compare the offer and tariffs by different service providers quickly and easily. With this in mind, the NBS established the List of Representative Services comprising 14 key payment services for consumers and 18 payment services for legal persons and entrepreneurs. All payment service providers will be required to prepare the list and make it easily available, i.e. supply it free of charge in the pre-contractual phase, at the user’s request.
Payment service providers will also be required to prepare a Fee Information Document Linked to a Payment Account, on the form defined by the NBS. The document contains a list of services from the said list of representative services offered by the service provider and data on the fees charged for each service.
An important novelty is the payment service provider’s obligation to submit to the user, at least once a year, the report on all fees charged for account-linked services, also on the form defined by the NBS. In this way, the payment service user will have insight into the annual, aggregate amount of fees charged both for individual and all services. In this way, the user will know how much money he allocates annually for the payment of different fees for account-linked services. Payment service providers must submit this report to consumers once a year, by no later than 1 March of the current year for the previous calendar year. They must also submit the same report, once a year, to entrepreneurs and legal persons, but at their request (given that many of them already receive information on the fees that they pay to payment service providers on a daily level).
The NBS wishes to highlight that it published on its website data on fees charged by payment service providers (for services in the list of representative payment services, including the service of paying cash to somebody else’s account). In this way, all services from the representative services list and fees charged by different payment service providers are presented in one place. This is the easiest and fastest way for the users to compare the offer and fee tariffs of different payment service providers and choose the one that suits them most. Payment service providers are responsible for the accuracy of data published on the NBS website and are legally obligated to regularly update these data, so that payment service users have at their disposal information that is reliable and up-to-date.
The information on fees for payment account-linked services is available on the NBS website (Serbian version only) and Tvoj novac webpage (Serbian version only).
On 17 March 2019, the provisions of the Law on Amendments and Supplements to the Law on Payment Services regulating the account switching procedure began to apply, as well as the provisions which guarantee to the payment service user – consumer the right to the payment account with basic features.
Payment service users who believe that the agreed manner and conditions of the provision of account-linked payment services no longer correspond to their interests or that another provider could offer them better conditions, will be able to give the authorization to a new payment service provider and thus initiate the switching procedure. The Law aims to simplify this complex procedure given that it entails the opening of a new payment account, transfer of standing orders, direct debits and potential closing of the old payment account. To avoid various administrative hurdles, the payment service user should submit to the new payment service provider a written authorization for account switching who should then, in close cooperation with the previous payment service provider, within statutory deadlines, exchange all necessary information to enable to user to use the new payment account and services linked to it. Payment service providers must offer to users all necessary assistance, and inform them in a timely and clear manner about the conditions and duration of the switching procedure.
The provisions regulating the right to the payment account with basic features should encourage greater financial inclusion and easier access to the payment account and contemporary payment services that imply lower costs and risks for consumers, while at the same time increasing the share of cashless payments, which helps curb the grey economy and diminishes the risk of money laundering.
So far, the payment account with basic features has not been envisaged in Serbia’s legislation. It has been prescribed for the first time that such payment account should include services which enable cash pay-ins and pay-outs to/from the payment account, and services of transferring cash from/to the payment account by means of direct debit, by using the payment card (including online payments) and credit transfers, including a standing order (on appropriate devices, bank tellers and online).
The NBS believes that all the above will contribute to higher transparency and comparability of fees charged by payment service providers and consequently their reduction, given that it is in the interest of payment service providers to pursue a price policy that will help them stay competitive in the market, so as to attract new and keep the existing clients