Kilvar Kessler: Primary payment services must remain accessible

Kilvar Kessler: Primary payment services must remain accessible

February 23, 2024·Makhmud Efendi
Makhmud Efendi
The Estonian FSA issued a guideline with requirements, aimed to ensure protection, transparency, and availability of primary payment services to all eligible consumers.
Kilvar Kessler: Primary payment services must remain accessible

Kilvar Kessler (photo source: Finantsinspektsioon), the head of the Financial Supervision Authority, stated yesterday, February 22, 2024, in an information session for bank and branch representatives that primary payment services must remain accessible even when they do not generate substantial revenue for banks. These essential services, necessary for managing daily financial activities like card payments, direct debits, and cash transactions, should be available to all residents in Estonia.

Primary payment services accessibility

The Authority has identified instances where banks and branches failed to provide these services consistently and will intensify checks to ensure compliance with legal requirements.

The directive and Estonian law regulate the availability and provision of these services, with strict requirements to prevent exclusion from the financial system. The guidelines aim to unify market practices and ensure broad consumer access to these vital services, addressing the issues most relevant to Estonian payment service providers. Oversight is jointly conducted by the Financial Supervision Authority and the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority, with the latter having the authority to conduct misdemeanor proceedings for violations.

The original guideline came into force on 01.01.2024 and is available in Estonian on the EFSA website.

The document outlines requirements for primary payment service providers. It emphasizes the legal basis for these guidelines, and the critical role of credit institutions in offering primary payment services, and specifies the criteria for accessibility, refusal grounds, and pricing of these services.

The guideline document aims to ensure consumer protection, transparency, and the availability of primary payment services to all eligible consumers in Estonia, while also addressing the prevention of financial crimes such as money laundering and terrorism financing according to the Estonian MLTFPA. It also underscores the importance of clear communication with consumers, especially regarding the refusal of service and the handling of complaints, and mandates reasonable pricing to ensure services are accessible to a wide audience.

The guideline key points

Key Point Description
Legal Framework Establishes the guideline’s legal basis under EU and national laws for payment services.
Scope and Objectives Defines applicability to credit institutions for accessible, transparent, and protected payment services.
Consumer Eligibility Details criteria for individuals/entities eligible for primary payment services, emphasizing inclusivity.
Service Accessibility Outlines requirements for making payment services accessible to all eligible consumers.
Refusal of Service Specifies conditions under which providers can refuse service with justified reasons.
Pricing Policy Addresses transparent and reasonable pricing of payment services for affordability.
Prevention of Financial Crimes Highlights measures against money laundering and terrorism financing for system integrity.
Consumer Communication Emphasizes clear communication with consumers regarding service terms and complaint processes.
Complaint Handling Sets standards for handling consumer complaints, including timely response and resolution.
Oversight and Compliance Describes the supervisory role in monitoring compliance, including audits and enforcement.
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