Basic banking services

What are basic banking services?

Basic banking services include a payment account with basic features and an instrument for using the account (e.g. a debit card and online banking ID), the possibility to withdraw cash, the execution of payment transactions and an electronic means of identification. Basic banking services, on the other hand, do not include accounts with an overdraft facility or various kinds of credit cards.

Can a bank refuse to open a basic payment account for me?

Banks must provide a basic payment account service on an equal and non-discriminatory basis to all retail customers who are legally resident in an EEA country. A retail customer means a person who uses basic banking services primarily for purposes other than his or her occupational or business activity.

Generally, a deposit bank may refuse to open a basic payment account and to provide related payment services only for reasons pertaining to money laundering regulations. This may be the case if, for example, the bank cannot reliably verify the identity of the customer.

If a deposit bank refuses to open a basic payment account for a retail customer or to provide payment services relating to such an account, it must inform the customer of the specific reason for the refusal without delay, in writing and free of charge. At the same time, the bank will give the customer an adequate account of the procedures for filing an appeal.

What are basic payment account services?

Basic payment account services include the following (not an exhaustive list):

  • services to open, use and close a basic payment account
  • depositing funds
  • withdrawing cash in an EEA country
  • execution of payment transactions by credit transfer, for example in online services, at bank branches and at bank terminals, as well as credit transfers by standing order, direct payments and direct debits
  • execution of payment transactions with a payment card online.

The number of service transactions cannot be capped.

Can a bank refuse to provide online banking ID?

The basic payment account service also includes online banking ID, i.e. a strong electronic means of identification, if the bank offers such a service to its other customers. The bank can only refuse an electronic identification service if the customer does not have a personal identity code or if he or she has not been entered in the population register. In such cases, the bank must offer a more limited electronic identification method applicable only for using a payment account with basic features and related services.

How can a basic payment account contract be terminated?

A customer may terminate a basic payment account contract at any time, and the deposit bank cannot charge anything for the termination.

A deposit bank may terminate a customer’s basic payment account only if there have been no transactions on the account over a period of 24 consecutive months or if the customer is no longer legally resident in an EEA country. The bank must notify the customer of the termination of the account and the reasons for termination in writing at least two months before the termination enters into force.

A deposit bank may cancel a basic payment account contract if the customer has

  • wilfully used the payment account for an unlawful purpose
  • provided incorrect information or
  • failed to provide information, and if accurate information would have led to the refusal of the application for a basic payment account in the first place

I want to switch my account to another bank. What should I do?

You can transfer your payment account to another service provider using a switching service. You just have to provide the new bank with the necessary information and authorise the new bank to request from the present bank the information required to transfer the account.

See also