Consumers to have more control of payments
Special Report The changes are more dramatic than you might think but generally for the better
Another consumer friendly change will see those who get electronic euro payments get the whole thing unlike now. If you receive money from elsewhere in the EU today, a receiving bank can deduct a fee for collecting it for you on the grounds that it is a foreign payment. That changes completely come the new year.
If you have overseas property and had a bank account in that country which you used to pay electricity or property management fees that will no longer be necessary.
People studying overseas or those working in the 33-country area will no longer have to set up an in-country bank account and will be able to pay their bills from, or have their wages lodged to, their Irish bank account.
Consumers will also have more control over direct debits. You will be able to set limits on them and if a provider increases a charge beyond that limit, or tries to double charge you, then it automatically gets stopped. You may still owe the money but at least you will be in control. Additionally, you will be able to revoke a transaction for up to eight weeks after a direct debit. So, if your electricity bill lands on July 1st, you will be able to go back to your bank at any point up until the end of August to ask for the money back and it will have to be returned.
More power to you
While some businesses have expressed concern over this development, it will put more power in the hands of consumers which can only be a positive.
The National Consumer Agency is confident that the new payments system will come into affect without negatively impacting on consumers and in the normal run of events the changes will have a “minimal” impact on people.
A spokeswoman said it would mainly benefit those who routinely make or receive payments to people or businesses in other SEPA countries, such as those with rental properties and will also mean that someone getting a job in another SEPA country would be able to be paid into their Irish bank account, if they wish.
“The main issue for consumer to remember is to become familiar with their BIC and IBAN and to check with their bank about how to convert any person to person electronic transfers they might have set up on their on-line banking,” the spokeswoman said.
“The National Consumer Agency would expect that the banks would communicate any implications clearly with their customers.”