Bank of Lithuania
2016-10-28
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As of 1 February 2017, banks and credit unions will be required to provide the possibility for residents to receive all key payment services for no more than EUR 1.5, for low-income residents — EUR 0.75 per month. Such a price was set in line with the methodology approved by the Bank of Lithuania. The basket includes a wide range of daily payment services, while consumers will be able to freely choose whether to take advantage of the basket of services connected to the basic payment account.

‘We seek that key payment services be provided to residents at an affordable price. Therefore, the pricing methodology is driven by the goal for Lithuania’s residents, who will use their basic payment account basket, to spend on payment services relatively no more than consumers in other Baltic and Nordic countries. Customers who choose the basket will also circumvent the faulty practice of being charged for each crediting of funds into account’, said Vitas Vasiliauskas, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.

While the restriction on the basic payment account basket price will come into force after three months, it had already led to a reduction in payment fees in the market. In recent months, one after another banks have begun to introduce fixed price payment plans, where the aforementioned practice, unattractive to customers, has been eliminated. 

Key services included in the Bank of Lithuania-approved composition of the basic payment account’s basket, which would be provided on a monthly basis at no additional charges, are as follows:

  • opening of account;
  • e-banking, as well as a secure means of logging into and managing the account (code card and SMS messages, code generator, etc.);
  • unlimited crediting of payments received in euro;
  • unlimited depositing of cash using the method selected by a credit institution;
  • payment card and payment transactions using card;
  • no less than 10 online transfers of any kind in euro per month, including utility and bill payments, e-invoice payments, transfers within the institution and to other payment service providers, direct debit transactions;
  • cash withdrawals — no less than EUR 550 per month within the network of the bank’s ATMs or in the manner selected by a credit union.

Under the law, low-income residents, receiving financial social aid (around 160 thousand residents in Lithuania), must be offered by credit institutions a no less than 50 per cent exemption to the price of the basic payment account, i.e. the basket cannot cost them more than EUR 0.75 per month.

It is also expected that in the future banks will merge their ATMs into a common network, while consumers using the basic payment account basket will be able to withdraw the amount set without any additional charges at any ATM in Lithuania. Since preparations for this take time, a preliminary one-year transition period is envisaged, during which the Bank of Lithuania will monitor the situation in this field and return to discussions on this issue in June next year.

The determined price cap will be valid until the end of 2017 and reviewed each year in light of the changes in average per capita consumption expenses.