Consumers in Cyprus will welcome reduced or even zero bank fees for certain services within a week since the Finance Ministry’s intention is to issue a relevant decree, Phileleftheros reports.
On Wednesday, the House Institutions Committee discussed overcharging by banks and ways to tackle it in the presence of Central Bank Governor Constantinos Herodotou and Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides.
The measures recommended by the central banker concern all consumers, including vulnerable groups of society, but businesses are excluded.
The main provisions of the ministerial decree are:
* Most importantly, there will be no fees on cash withdrawals from ATMs of other banks within the Republic of Cyprus. Herodotou said this measure will facilitate the rural population where there are not enough ATMs. Free cash withdrawals will be carried out at the ATMs of all banks located in Cyprus and supervised by the Central Bank. ATMs located mainly in coastal towns and which are not owned by banks will continue to charge fees.
* With the issue of the decree, bank clients will have to tell their bank the basic account service (savings, current) they use is linked with their cards. A consumer may have an account that includes basic services at another bank. Clients will be asked by their bank if they also have a basic service account with another credit institution.
*The study prepared by the Central Bank and delivered to the Minister suggests that for certain basic services the charge should apply from a number of transactions and above, while for certain basic services it is suggested not to set a number of transactions at all. Both the Governor and the Minister refused to go into further details on this. Basically, if there is a ceiling on a charge then the consumer will not have to pay over the set one.
* Basic bank services under the comparability of fees legislation, for which consumers will have a ceiling ‘protection’ are: All transactions required to open, operate and close a payment account, services that allow funds to be deposited into an account payment service, and which allow cash withdrawals from a payment account within the European Union through a customer service fund or ATM – during or beyond the opening hours of the credit institution. They also concern the execution of the following payment transactions within the Union: direct debits, payment card payment transactions, including online payments, credit transfers, including standing orders at terminals, if any, and customer service funds through the credit institution’s online capabilities.
By Theano Theiopoulou