Opening/switching bank accounts and information on fees

Directive 2014/92/EU — comparable and transparent fees and rules for all payment accounts and payment account switching

It aims to tackle 3 main issues:

access to basic payment accounts*,
transparency and comparability of payment account fees, and
bank account switching.

Access to bank accounts

The law says that anyone residing legally in the European Union has the right to open a payment account with basic features in any EU country. However, a person wishing to open such a bank account should always comply with EU anti-money laundering rules.
A basic bank account includes various services such as cash withdrawals at a bank counter or cash machines and the execution of payment transactions such as direct debits or credit transfers within the EU.

Clear and comparable bank account fees

The law provides for several tools to make fees clearer for consumers. For instance, it requires that in each EU country there is at least one independent website that compares payment account fees that are charged by different banks.

Bank account switching services

The rules establish a quick procedure for consumers who want to switch their account from one bank to another in the same EU country. The switch has to be conducted by the recipient bank. The banks bear the costs of any financial loss in the event of errors made in the process.
When a consumer wants to switch accounts between two EU countries, the bank hosting the account which will be closed must assist in the process.

 Application & Background

It has applied since 17 September 2014. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 18 September 2016.


Not all EU citizens have easy access to a bank account, even though this is essential in modern life. This EU law improves the situation by giving them the right to open a basic payment account anywhere in the EU, and improves the transparency of bank account fees as well as the process of switching accounts.
For more information, see:
Bank accounts (European Commission).

Basic payment account:
under this directive, it includes the following:

services enabling all operations required for opening, operating and closing a payment account;
services enabling funds to be placed on a payment (current) account;
services enabling withdrawals (within the EU) at a bank counter or cash machine;
execution of various payment transactions within the EU, such as direct debits and credit transfers, as well as payments with a payment card.

Directive 2014/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 on the comparability of fees related to payment accounts, payment account switching and access to payment accounts with basic features (OJ L 257, 28.8.2014, pp. 214–246)

last update 20.10.2017

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