NEWS | Wednesday, 12 March 2008
Suggested by former Parliamentary Secretary Tonio Fenech and held under wraps by MFSA in January, those expecting the “review in bank charges” to result in discounted rates may stop wishing.
Local banks have recently introduced new charges, justified by international and cross-border regulations, which are anything but discounted.
Banking giants HSBC and BoV have introduced charges that weigh down heavily on consumers.
A €4.00 charge for online transfers in Euro currency to third party accounts with other banks has been introduced. Non-internet transfers will be subject to a €30.00 charge.
Priority and same-day transfers will be subject to an €8.00 charge if affected online and €40.00 if the transfer is affected manually. The quoted charges are only applicable for Euro-denominated transactions transferred to third-party accounts held with other banks based in Malta or other countries within the SEPA zone, namely Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Great Britain, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Leichtenstein, Switzerland, Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guinea, Reunion, Gibraltar, Azores, Madeira, The Canary Islands, Ceuta, Melilla and The Aland Islands.
Transactions in other currencies within the SEPA zone are subject to higher fees, namely €12.00 for electronic transactions and €30.00 for manual transactions, unless the transaction is not requested for priority payment. In that case, fees incurred would be of €24.00 if the transaction is affected electronically and €40.00 if done manually.
Furthermore, BoV confirmed with Business Today that for incoming Euro-denominated transactions from SEPA countries, the beneficiary would be subject to a €4.00 charge once the amount transfer exceeds €10,000. In a different monetary denomination, for similar transactions affected over Internet, beneficiaries would be charged €10.00. For inward credit transfers not exceeding €10,000 and originating from SEPA countries, there shall be no charge to the beneficiary.
Both banks have confirmed that other tariffs introduced include a €20.00 fee for repairs or amendments on payment instructions, a €20.00 fee for rejects of payment instructions, a €20.00 fee for cancellation of requests on payment instructions and a €30.00 fee for disposal instructions.
In between scheduled meetings at the Ecofin conference in Brussels last January, former Parliamentary Secretary Tonio Fenech had spoken to Business Today over the phone in order to comment about the outcome of the discussions during the conference.
One of the items discussed in January was the Single European Payments Area – wherein cheques, debit cards and other banking services within the Eurozone would enjoy a facility common to different countries within the European area.
“SEPA will of course imply huge investments from banks,” Fenech had told Business Today.
“One would need to look into all of its aspects carefully. In any case, exaggerated bank charges will decrease for transactions within the Eurozone, resulting to a fairer system on the end-customer,” he had said.
Also mentioning that the MFSA was “reviewing some banking regulations imposed by local banks,” Fenech left readers hoping that certain charges will be reviewed to the benefit of the user.
The week after, Business Today had contacted MFSA to ask for more details in this regard, but a spokesperson for the authority, confirming that the review was underway, had insisted that details could not be disclosed.
12 March 2008
ISSUE NO. 526