Now people in Europe will have the right to a basic bank account

Last week the Council confirmed the agreement found with the Parliament on the directive on basic payment account. This is a remarkable step in the fight against financial exclusion and in ensuring that people are not discriminated when they access services in the internal market.

In particular we would like to point out four main achievements:

  • ban of discriminatory practices while applying for opening a basic bank account: member states should ensure that credit institutions do not discriminate against consumers legally resident in the EU by reason of their nationality or any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, religion or belief, disability, religion or sexual orientation
  • obligation on all credit institutions or a sufficient number of credit institutions to offer basic bank accounts
  • obligation to offer a basic bank account to people who previously were excluded by financial services, such as refugees, homeless people, foreign students, holders of blue card
  • basic bank accounts should be offered free of charge or at a reasonable price.

We welcome this political agreement that is going to mark a positive step in the fight against financial exclusion and discrimination. Studies and surveys carried out by our members testify that cases of discrimination on the grounds of age, disability and sex are still widespread across Europe when people try to have access to financial services (especially concerning insurance products, mortgages and loans – to learn more, you can read Social Platform's position paper on financial inclusion).

We have advocated with other NGOs to make sure that the negotiations between the Parliament and the Council went in the right direction. You can read more in this article.