The Treasury Department


Answers

  • It seems the Convention provides that the same consumer cannot open two or more "ordinary" basic accounts with Payment Services Providers (PSP) or even with a single PSP. Is this interpretation correct?

    Yes, since the purposes of the regulation are fulfilled through the opening of a single "ordinary" basic account.

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  • Can the holder of a basic account be the holder of another current account with the same Payment Services Provider (PSP)?

    The holder of a basic account cannot be the holder of another current account or another payment account with the same PSP (although it is possible for the holder of the basic account to be the holder of another type of account at another PSP). The holder of the basic account may be the holder of electronic money instruments pursuant to Paragraph 5 of Article 4 of the Convention.

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  • What are the cases in which the Payment Service Provider (PSP) can refuse to the basic account and what are the means in relation thereto?

    The application in writing to open a basic account may be rejected for serious reasons, essentially in relation to the fight against money laundering and the financing of the terrorism, as well as for the absence of the requisites provided by the Convention. In the latter case, the rejection must be specifically reasoned, because of the requirements of transparency, as well as to allow an examination to ensure the regulations have been properly applied.

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  • Is the prohibition of offering other types of services by Payment Services Providers (PSP) also extended to contracts signed before the opening of the basic account (meaning it is never possible for a holder of a basic account to maintain other types of banking and financial relationships with a specific PSP)?

    The PSP cannot offer other types of services or accessory services other than those indicated in the Convention, and a holder of basic account can never maintain other types of banking and financial relationships with a specific PSP.

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  • Upon the opening of the basic account for the underprivileged (pursuant to Article 6), does the consumer have to certify income for the purpose of the equivalent financial situation index (ISEE), and if so, with what type of documentation?

    Upon opening the basic account, pursuant to Article 6 of the Convention (underprivileged), the consumer must not only declare that he is not a holder of another basic account (Article 6, Paragraph 2 of the Convention), but he must also certify income for the purpose of the equivalent financial situation index (ISEE), including through self-certification, making use of the forms already used, if applicable.

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  • Consumers receiving annual pension income of €18,000 or less are entitled to a free basic account ("Exhibit B"). Does that sum refer to what is actually received (therefore, the net pension payment) or the pension payment before taxes? In addition, do the sums paid to the holder as the "thirteenth" month of pension income (or any additional months of pension income) count as part of the annual pension income?

    The amount to be considered is the amount before taxes, and therefore, the annual pre-tax amount cannot exceed €18,000, inclusive of the sums paid as the "thirteenth" month of the pension income (on the basis of the declaration about the holder's pension income referenced in Article 7, Paragraph 3 of the Convention, taking into account the income shown on the certification of the pension entity, for example, Form 101).

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  • How is the distinction provided by Article 7, Paragraph 1 of the Convention to be interpreted in relation to the basic account types for the recipient of pension income up to €18,000 per year before taxes?

    In the option provided in letter a), as well as in the option referenced in letter b), the basic account offered is free for the transactions included in Exhibit B. Any other transactions in addition to those provided in Exhibit B are allowed against payment.
    In addition, in the option provided in letter a), upon the request of the retiree, the Payment Services Provider (PSP) offers the basic account referenced in Exhibit A (see Article 7, Paragraph 1, letter a of the Convention). In this case, the services and the transactions provided in Exhibit B are free, whereas for the other services/transactions provided in the Exhibit A (and not included in Exhibit B), the PSP may apply an all-inclusive fee, or if more favourable for the consumer, rates for the individual transactions at standard costs. The holder of the account may request additional transactions over and above those provided in Exhibit A, against payment. For a better understanding on the part of the consumer, it is believed preferable to leave the two options distinct, thereby offering distinct products.

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  • What is meant by "a higher number of transactions" or "excess transactions" with respect to the transactions referenced in Exhibits A and B?

    The terms "a higher number of transactions" or "excess transactions" are defined as the transactions of the types included in Exhibits A and B, that are executed by the consumer in a quantity exceeding the numerical limits provided by Exhibits A or B.

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  • What is meant by "additional transactions" with respect to the transactions referenced in Exhibits A and B?

    The term "additional transactions" refers to the transactions generated against the foreign-currency conversion service or the supply of electronic money, as admitted pursuant to Paragraph 5 of Article 4 of the Convention on the basic accounts and not even any transactions that make reference to the same type of service.

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  • Does each member of the household to which the income for the purpose of the equivalent financial situation index (ISEE) refers, have the right to apply for the opening of a free basic account?

    Yes, in the case of consumers whose currently valid ISEE is below €8,000, each member of the household, which serves as the basis for the calculation of the ISEE, is entitled to apply for the opening of a free basic account, except in cases in which the household member is already a joint holder of an account of this type.

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  • If the request to open or close the account occurs during the year, how does one calculate the fee and the related number of transactions allowed?

    Assuming the account is opened or closed during year, the fee and the number of transactions are proportional to the period of reference on a monthly basis.

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  • How does one interpret "current accounts offered to consumers with basic needs" (Article 5, Paragraph 3)?

    The definition of "current accounts offered to consumers with basic needs" is understood to be equivalent to the definition of "current accounts offered to households with limited transactions", according to the profiles outlined by the Bank of Italy for the calculation of the summary cost indicator (Exhibit 5A, Bank of Italy transparency provisions).

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  • What commissions can be applied for withdrawals at the ATMs of Payment Services Providers (PSP) other than the PSP that issued the debit card, with respect to transactions exceeding the limits referenced in Exhibit A ?

    Consistent with the interpretation proposed with reference to Paragraph 3 of Article 5 of the Convention (excess transactions), the PSP may refer to the commissions provided for transactions through "current accounts offered to households with limited transactions" according to the profiles outlined by the Bank of Italy for the calculation of the summary cost indicator (Exhibit 5A, Bank of Italy transparency provisions) if more convenient, or otherwise, to those through "current accounts offered to households with medium amounts of transactions"

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  • Is it possible to have a basic account held in two or more names of persons receiving pension income? Is a power of attorney allowed?

    In the scenario referenced in Article 7 of the Convention, the joint holding is only possible in the case in which each of the joint holders receives an annual pension of up to €18,000 before taxes; should the holder of the basic account need to have business transacted through the account by other persons who do not meet the requisites required by the regulations, it is possible for the account holder to provide a "power of attorney to transact business through the account", which unlike the joint holding is always allowed (e.g. a child of a retiree).

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  • Is there an additional cost for choosing a frequency for the sending of the account statement or the summary document that is different from the annual frequency for the sending of the "transparency notices" and the quarterly frequency for the sending of the "periodic disclosure statement" provided in Exhibits A and B?

    The customer may choose a frequency for the sending of the account statement or summary document other than the annual frequency (for example, a quarterly frequency) without incurring additional costs, except that the PSP may apply additional expenses in the event of the request for the sending of notices that exceed the number provided (1+4).

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  • Can the Payment Services Providers (PSP) use a single disclosure statement for offering different types of basic accounts?

    The PSP can offer different types of basic accounts using a single disclosure statement (specifying, however, the different summary cost indicators).

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  • Are the Payment Services Providers (PSP) required to send a notice to the customer for each time when the customer exceeds the number of transactions provided in Exhibits A and B?

    Consistent with the provisions of Paragraph 4 of Article 8 of the Convention, in relation to the risk of insufficient funds in the account, the PSP may send a notice to the customer for every time when the customer exceeds the number of transactions provided in Exhibits A and B, but the PSP is not required to do so.

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  • Are Payment Services Providers (PSP) also required to offer the basic account to non-resident consumers?

    Yes, the PSP are also required to supply the basic account to non-resident consumers.

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  • Are the Payment Services Providers (PSP) required to offer basic accounts in foreign currencies?

    No, the PSP are not required to offer basic accounts in foreign currency.

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  • Are the Payment Services Providers (PSP) required to offer the simple current account and the basic banking service, created for purposes similar to those for the basic account?

    The basic account must be offered by the PSPs, whereas the PSPs may also elect to continue to offer other types of accounts.

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  • Are the Payment Services Providers (PSP) required to offer alternative channels of access to the basic account (such as, for example, Internet banking) without applying incremental costs to the consumer?

    The PSPs have the option of offering alternative channels of access to the basic account (such as, for example, Internet banking), and in such cases, it is not possible to apply higher costs to the consumer. In this regard, considering the services provided in Exhibits A and B of the Convention, Internet banking, if any, linked to the basic account referenced in Exhibit B could be enabled only for information reporting purposes (and not for transactional purposes) whereas the PSP may enable both functions (reporting and transactions) for the basic account referenced in Exhibit A.

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  • Do the Payment Services Providers (PSP) need to register all types of basic accounts with the tax register?

    Yes, the PSPs are obliged to register all types of basic accounts with the tax register (as referenced in Paragraph 6 of Article 6 of the Convention).

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  • Are the Payment Services Providers (PSP) required to send a notice to the customer who does not provide, by 31 May of each year, self-certification attesting to his pension income for the purposes of maintaining the account free of charge?

    Taking into account the provisions of Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Convention, the PSP are not required to send (but have the option of sending) a notice to the customer who does not provide, by 31 May of each year, self-certification attesting to his pension income for the purposes of maintaining the account free of charge. The foregoing applies without prejudice to the provisions of Article 4, Paragraph 5 of the Convention and the respect of the principles referenced in Article 8 of the Convention.

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  • Can the words "basic account" (uniquely identifying the product referenced in the Convention) be supplemented to distinguish the different types of basic accounts (e.g. "ordinary basic account", "free basic account/socially underprivileged categories", "retirees basic account,...")?

    The words "basic account" can be supplemented, provided in a single manner across the entire national territory, in order to distinguish the different types of basic accounts (e.g. "ordinary basic account", "free basic account/socially underprivileged categories", "retirees basic account Exhibit A/Exhibit B") until the issuance of special provisions to be adopted, pursuant to Article 117, Paragraph 8, of the Consolidated Banking Act.

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  • Article 3, Paragraph 1 of the Convention provides that the Payment Services Providers, which include payment accounts for consumer customers and all of the payment services referenced in Exhibits A and B of the Convention, are obligated to offer basic account. Who is deemed to be excluded from the sphere of application of this provision?

    The obligation to offer the basic account regards exclusively the Payment Services Providers, which, as part of their services offered, include payment accounts for consumer customers and all of the payment services referenced in Exhibits A and B of the Convention. In particular, such obligation is not applied where the PSP does not offer basic accounts since the PSP does not meet the legal conditions that require the offer of such accounts, and namely, when the PSP:

    1. carries out its activity exclusively for non-consumers customers;
    2. is exclusively specialised in offering banking and financial products for investment, financing or insurance that may provide for the opening of an account that can be used exclusively for effecting payment services related to such products; and,
    3. when, at the date on which the Convention became effective (1 June 2012), the PSP did not offer one or more of the services listed in Exhibits A and B of the Convention (for this purpose, it has been clarified that the requirement to offer withdrawals at the teller window can be met by the offer of ATM withdrawals for banks that operate exclusively online and do not have any branches in the national territory).

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  • Considering that the Convention provides expressly that only the consumer customer has the option of withdrawing from the contract, what are the cases in which the Payment Services Providers (PSP) can exercise the right of withdrawal?

    In conformity with the Convention, the PSP may withdraw in cases of the original or supervening absence of the requisites necessary for the opening of the account. In addition, the PSP is entitled to withdraw unilaterally from the basic account contract, with at least 2 (two) months advance written notice thereof, should the basic account have insufficient funds as of 31 December and should there not have been any account entries for more than two calendar years (24 consecutive months).

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  • Considering that Article 5, Paragraph 1) of the Convention does not allow Payment Services Providers (PSP) to authorise any type of overdraft related to the basic account nor does it allow them to charge specific charges and commissions for lack of funds in the account, what happens if there are insufficient funds in the account?

    Without prejudice to the PSP's obligation to adopt all measures to prevent and avoid situations of insufficient funds, the PSP may freeze the account in the event of insufficient funds until the time of the reinstatement of funds. If, at 31 December, the basic account has a negative balance and there have been no entries at the order or on the initiative of the customer in the preceding 24 months, the PSP will be entitled to withdraw unilaterally from the basic account contract, with at least 2 (two) months advance written notice thereof. If the account holder arranges for the reinstatement of funds within the two-month term of advance notice, the PSP shall not extinguish the basic account.

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  • For the purposes of the application of the condition of no charge for the basic account, are the Payment Services Providers (PSP) required to control the accuracy of the information provided by the consumers in the self-certifications, made pursuant to Articles 6 and 7 of the Convention?

    The provisions and the principles dictated by Decree of the President of the Republic No. 445/2000 apply in relation to the checking of the self-certifications.

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  • Which pension income is included within the sphere of application of Article 7, Paragraph 1 of the Convention?

    All pension income paid by public and private pension entities is to be considered included.

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  • Pursuant to Article 4, Paragraph 6 of the Convention ("The PSP does not act as an intermediary, in any form whatsoever, for the consummation of contracts between services providers and the holders of basic accounts"), which are the types of products/services that the Payment Services Providers (PSP) cannot offer?

    The PSP does not act as an intermediary, in any form whatsoever, for the consummation of contracts between services providers and the holders of basic accounts. The prohibition must thus also be understood to refer to: a) the placement/distribution of third-party services; b) relationships inaugurated before the opening of the basic account (with the consequence that any services rendered by the PSP and agreed in writing before the application for the basic account entail the negation of the opening of the account, unless such services are revoked). Pursuant to Paragraph 5 of Article 4 of the Convention, electronic money instruments are an exception to the prohibition.
    The reasoning for the prohibition is to avoid that the basic account (which is aimed the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of low-income segments of society) is used for the purpose of marketing and selling more sophisticated and complex services and products through an extension of the level of contracting with the customer. By reason thereof, the offer of the basic account needs to be deemed compatible with services and products that fulfil their function in a single transaction and/or outside of a stable contractual relationship with an identified account holder, and therefore, net of the risks of "solicitation" of clients: typical in this regard are cash funds transfers (such as remittances) that, amongst other things, are like the basic account in that they are for the purpose of financial inclusion.

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  • Can the Payment Services Providers (PSP) offer consumers interested in the basic account a prepaid card with an IBAN (account card)?

    No, the PSP may not substitute the offer of basic accounts with that of account cards (cards equipped with an IBAN). However, they may offer, in addition to the services included in the basic account and if the consumer so requests them, electronic money instruments for basic accounts (with or without an IBAN), pursuant to Paragraph 5 of Article 4 of the Convention.

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  • Under the assumption of a supervening loss of the requisites, is it possible to change the nature of the account from a "basic account" to "simple account" without having to have the customer sign a new contract?

    It is possible, provided that the customer's consent is obtained.

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  • What happens if the customer of a free basic account does not present the self-certification attesting to his equivalent financial situation index (ISEE) by the deadline of 31 May? And what happens if the retiree does not present the self-certification attesting to his pension income by the deadline of 31 May?

    With respect to the socially underprivileged, Article 6, Paragraph 4 provides that the PSP will debit the expenses referenced in Article 5 and, if applicable, the stamp duty as of 1 January if the certification is not presented by the deadline. In addition, pursuant to Article 6, Paragraph 5, the PSP shall provide notice thereof to the holder, who may withdraw within two months, without the expenses and stamp duty being due.
    If the retiree does not provide certification of his pension income, the PSP debits the expenses as from 1 January of the year of reference, pursuant to Article 7, Paragraph 4. On the basis of the provisions of Article 7, Paragraph 5, should the retiree not effect the self-certification the PSP shall provide notice thereof to the holder who may withdraw within two months. In this case, the expenses are not due.
    In other words, the customer who uses a free system and does not produce certification proving his right to continue participating in such system, will lose the benefit unless he withdraws from the relationship within the term of two months of advance notice, with retroactive effect as from 1 January. In this case, the basic account referenced in Article 4 is applicable, and as a result, the expenses indicated in Article 5 are applicable.
    For the purposes of maintaining the free service, the PSP shall take into consideration the self-certifications that, due to circumstances not attributable to the account holders, have been presented after 31 May and within the term of the two months of advance notice.

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