New plan to allow universal access to bank accounts in EU

Tim Wallace
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BANKS and building societies will have to offer a standard basic bank account approved by national regulators under new plans unveiled by the EU yesterday.

The accounts will have to be easily available to anyone and list standard features like costs and interest rates in a regulated format.

That will also extend to price comparison websites which will be regulated to present account information in a standard format.

A voluntary scheme will also give a stamp of approval to sites that meet the European Commission’s (EC) standards on comparison formats.The draft directive will also see the EC follow the UK’s lead in creating a switching service like the UK’s incoming seven-day scheme.

“This will finally give all citizens access to a basic bank account and enable them to participate fully in the society they live in,” said commissioner Michel Barnier.