The Bank of Lithuania aims at more transparency and competition in the payment services market
Aiming to provide more favourable conditions for the population to get more information on standard charges for payment services applicable by domestic banks, credit unions and payment institutions to natural entities, the Bank of Lithuania is starting to publish them on its website at www.lb.lt/ikainiai.
The Bank of Lithuania has signed agreements on the obtaining and publication of charges information with 13 domestic banks and foreign bank branches, the Lithuanian Central Credit Union, and 5 payment institutions.
“The issue of charges for payment services that many of us use almost on a daily basis is particularly sensitive. We are providing people with a possibility to compare the charges applicable by different banks, credit unions and payment institutions, and to opt for the best conditions. We expect this will contribute to more transparency in this market and foster competition, which is for the benefit of the users", member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania Vaidievutis Geralavičius said.
The Bank of Lithuania’s website publishes 37 standard charges applicable by domestic banks. The categories of local money transfers in litas, money transfers in foreign currency, crediting of received funds, account management, cash transactions, currency exchange, debit card issuance and handling, payments for services, and direct debit are specified. Providers of the cheapest services are published in a separate table.
The website also presents tariffs on the payment services of credit unions and payment institutions.
It has been provided that providers of payment services will submit information concerning charge changes to the Bank of Lithuania no later than 3 banking days before the coming into effect of the new charges. The Bank of Lithuania will update information on the changes in charges on the day of their coming into effect.
On the Bank of Lithuania’s website the users will find a “glossary” of charges, i.e. their descriptions. Such explanations will enable banks to treat charges on a uniform basis and help bank customers to better orientate themselves. By clicking a computer “mouse” the users will be able to sort out the charges for payment services of different banks, credit unions and payment institutions in ascending or descending order.
Through interactive interfaces one will be able to access the website of a specific provider of a service, find there urgent information on, for example, non-standard charges and additional terms and conditions for the provision of certain payment services.
“Currently we do not have legal powers to ascertain whether there is no abuse of the establishment of charges for payment services, whether they are economically justifiable and correct. However, amendments to legal acts following the reconstruction of supervisory authorities will provide the Bank of Lithuania with a real legal basis to address such issues”, V. Geralavičius stated.
According to him, the issue of charges is raised on a European Union (EU) level too. Recently the Directorate General for Health and Consumers of the European Commission initiated a survey into the transparency and comparability of bank charges. The purpose of the survey is to find out about the initiatives applicable by the EU Member States in order to increase transparency and comparability of bank charges.