A woman compares information on paper bank statements to what is on a tablet screen

Small revolution: new law will save between 1 and 2 billion Euro at least for citizens and businesses in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden

The EPP Group voted yesterday in favour of abolishing ‘roaming’ fees for cross-border payments in Europe. "It is a huge step forward to completing the Single Market for payments, putting Eurozone and non-Eurozone businesses on a level playing field," said Eva Maydell MEP, the European Parliament's negotiator on the draft law after yesterday's vote in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.

The new law will save between 1 and 2 billion Euro at least per year for 150 million citizens and 6 million businesses, both in EU countries that do not use the Euro and in EU countries which do business with these countries.

"This is the second small revolution in the EU after the removal of phone roaming charges. All Europeans who transfer money across borders within the EU must be treated equally. Charges for cross-border payments must be the same as for domestic payments," Maydell stressed.

Currently, Euro transfers from one Eurozone country to another do not - in most cases - result in additional fees for bank clients, while Euro transfers from or to non-Eurozone countries do. "Today, a payment of €10 can easily be subject to a €20 charge in some non-Eurozone countries, despite the availability of the Single Euro Payments Area which simplifies bank transfers in Euros. This must change," Maydell said.

Consumers can choose whether to pay in the local currency or in their own one Eva Maydell MEP

Additionally, the new law will oblige payment service providers to be more transparent about currency conversion fees when a card-based payment or a money transfer takes place. "Consumers will be able to choose easily in an informed manner whether to pay in the local currency or in their own one," she said.

Currently, nine countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom) are EU members but do not use the Euro.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 219 Members from 28 Member States

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