December 2015

corporate & commercial LAW


After being passed by the European Parliament, Directive (EU) 2015/2366 of 25 November on payment services was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 23 December (“PSD2”). The deadline for its transposition into national law is 13 January 2018.

This newsletter summarises key aspects of PSD2.

New payment initiation and account information services

Under PSD2 “payment initiation” services and “account information” services are considered payment services. So-called “payment initiation” services allow users to initiate internet payments by establishing a software bridge between the users’ online banking platform and the website of the merchant. “Account information” services provide users with aggregated online information on one or more payment accounts held with one or more entities allowing the user to have an overall view of its financial situation.

Inclusion of international payment transactions

So-called one-leg transactions, i.e. transactions where one of the payment service providers is located outside the European Economic Area, are now subject to specific provisions of PSD2.

Exceptions to the scope of application of PSD2

PSD2 explains the following exceptions to its scope application, which applied in the previous Directive:

  1. The exception applicable to payment transactions carried out through a commercial agent will only apply when the agent acts in the name of the payer or the payee, regardless of whether it enters into possession of the funds, or, if it acts on behalf of both, provided that it does not enter into possession of the funds.
  2. The exception applicable to payment instruments which can only be used in a limited network will continue to apply. However, exempt entities will now also be obligated to notify the competent authorities when the average monthly value of their transactions exceeds the amount of EUR 1 million in 12 months. The purpose of this notification is to allow competent authorities to decide whether or not an entity is still exempt.
  3. The exception applicable to payment transactions by means of telecom or information technology devices, such as video and music downloads, is significantly reduced and will only apply to specific transactions and provided that each transaction of this type does not exceed EUR 50 or a total of EUR 300 per month per user.

Protection measures for payment services users

Among others, PSD2 introduces the following protection measures for the users of payment services:

  • Member States must ensure that the payee does not charge to use payment instruments for which interchange fees are already regulated by legislation,
  • the amount for which the user is liable if a payment instrument is stolen or lost is reduced from EUR 150 to EUR 50,
  • strong customer authentication must be put in place in distance transactions,
  • payment service providers must reply to payment service users’ complaints within 15 business days, and
  • funds in a card-based payment transaction which exact amount is unknown (such as hotel reservations) can only be blocked when the payer has given consent to the exact amount of the funds to be blocked.

Contact point for the provision of services by agents in another Member State

Member States may require payment entities operating on their territory through agents, and whose head office is situated in another Member State, to appoint a central contact point in their territory.

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The information in this newsletter does not constitute legal advice