Banks shouldn't be allowed to charge more for withdrawals by visitors from abroad

1 March 2019

Banks shouldn't be allowed to charge more for withdrawals by visitors from abroad

If you withdraw euros in another member state, banks should not be permitted to impose additional charges, according to the European Commission. The Commission was answering questions put by SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong and Dutch Christian Democrat Esther de Lange (CDA).

"As a Greek in Greece, for example, you may be charged more by a bank other than your own, but you always have the option of using your own Greek bank,” explains De Jong. “As a tourist or business traveller you'll often be unable to find a branch of your own bank. You'll have to use another bank's automatic teller machine to access your money.  If additional costs are imposed because you are visiting from abroad, then in my view that's  indirect discrimination."

The European Commission's answers revealed that they are planning to investigate the matter further and take appropriate measures. "It should not be the case that when you're travelling abroad you're confronted with charges that are unjustified,” says De Lange. “That's completely contrary to our internal market agreements. The Commission must take action and I'm pleased that they've said they'll do so.” 

Both MEPs agreed that the problem needs solving, and quickly. “It's even more complex because when, for example, a bank in which you have an account in the Netherlands has branches in other member states which are officially seen as a different bank, you'll have to pay the extra,” says De Jong. “That is of course rather odd, when you're seeing the same name and the same logo. So there's quite a lot for the Commission to investigate and I'll be keeping the pressure up on the Commissioner for Financial Services Valdis Dombrovskis to ensure that people aren't victims of unequal treatment by the banks.”

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