Skopje, 8 March 2023
“Mandatory informing the customers about the conditions under which they use the payment services, as well as information on the fees for the most frequently used payment account services-the new regulatory framework intensifies the protection of the payment service users in the country”- said the Governor of the National Bank, Anita Angelovska Bezhoska in an interview for Marili and pointed out that the National Bank constantly improves the protection of the bank services users, even by establishing a special organizational unit for this purpose, which will have regular controls in this area, starting this year.
The Governor pointed out that the new Law on Payment Services and Payment Systems opens the market for new payment service providers and widens the scope of the services to be offered, with the changes being accompanied by appropriate regulative requirements for consumer protection.
“The National Bank issued a list of 11 most representative payment account services for which it will regularly collect data on the fees of each payment service provider and will publish them on its website in a comparative context. The first publication of the fees on the National Bank website is expected for the end of September this year. In this way the citizens will have a fast and easily accessible information on fees”, said the Governor.
A novelty in the Law is the definition of an account with basic features for the citizens, which will enable regular payment transactions using cash, debit cards and credit transfer, within the funds on that account.
“The fee on these services will be limited at 0.1% of the average paid net wage, or about denar 31. Besides the limitation of the maintenance cost, the Law also stipulates that the banks and savings houses shall not charge the use of the account with basic features for the customers from vulnerable categories”-said Angelovska Bezhoska.
The Governor pointed out that in recent years the National Bank has enhanced the activities in the area of protection of bank services users, as well as strengthened the financial education of the population as a main prerequisite for greater financial inclusion. Last year, the National Bank began operating a special organizational unit- Consumer protection and financial education department, which during the first year analyzed and amended the existing regulation in the area of consumer protection, collected data and analyzed the bank’s set up in the field of consumer protection, while regular controls over banks in this area will begin this year.
The preparation of a circular, with the best practices included, is in final phase and shall promote transparency and improve the approach of banks and savings houses to their clients, as well as to complaints. Since 2021, in order to increase their transparency, the banks started publishing standard tables with basic data on loans and deposits that they offer, also available on the National Bank website. The National Bank, in cooperation with other financial regulators, has been preparing a Draft-Law on Financial Ombudsman for quite some time, which regulates the settlement of possible disputes between natural persons as financial services users and the financial institutions.