PSD3 regulation: What will Change?

The Payment Services Directive 3 (PSD3) aims to enhance the EU payment services market, balancing consumer protection, competition, and technological advancements. Key changes include improved transparency, better protection for blocked funds, and responsible access to financial data.

PSD3 regulation: What will Change?

Grand “Answer”:

The third Payment Services Directive (PSD3) is a proposed regulation by the European Commission that is part of a Payment Services package. This directive primarily centers around authorization and supervision requirements, which could present challenges for Payment Institutions and Electronic Money Institutions.[2] While the exact contents and impacts of the PSD3 are still unclear as it's in the draft proposal stage, it is likely to bring significant changes to the financial landscape in Europe. Please note that the information is subject to change as the proposal continues to be discussed and refined. [1][2]



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PSD3 impacts on Payment and Electronic Money Institution authorization
PSD3 focuses on authorization and supervision requirements, bringing challenges for Payment Institutions and Electronic Money Institutions.

Payment Services Directive 3 (PSD3)

The European Union's (EU) financial regulatory framework has undergone several revisions over the past years. Among the significant measures is the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), implemented in 2015. This directive served as a comprehensive regulation for all retail payments within the EU, encompassing both euro and non-euro transactions, whether domestic or cross-border.

PSD2 succeeded the first Payment Services Directive (PSD1), which was introduced in 2007 with the goal of establishing a unified legal framework that would build a consolidated EU payments market. The underlying objective of PSD2 was to eliminate barriers for emerging payment services while augmenting consumer protection and security. Yet, the changing landscape of financial transactions, spurred by the advent of technology and new market players, has necessitated further improvements and clarifications to this regulatory environment. In light of these requirements, the PSD3 is set to introduce more nuanced and targeted measures that will continue to strengthen the EU payments framework.

Evolution of the EU Payments Framework

PSD3 is a culmination of regulatory efforts to optimize the functioning of the EU payment markets. The changes proposed under this revised version of PSD2 are not radical shifts but instead represent an evolutionary path, building upon the foundation established by its predecessors.

The PSD3 seeks to introduce various enhancements including measures to combat payment fraud; grant non-bank payment service providers (PSPs) access to all EU payment systems, provided that appropriate safeguards are in place; and guarantee them the right to a bank account. These amendments are a conscious effort to improve the functioning of open banking, particularly the performance of data interfaces, and eliminate obstacles to open banking services and consumer control over data access permissions.

Furthermore, PSD3 aims to strengthen the enforcement powers of national competent authorities, facilitate the implementation of rules, improve consumer information and rights, enhance cash availability, and consolidate the legal frameworks for electronic money and payment services. Each of these measures is designed to address specific challenges, create a conducive environment for innovation, and maintain high levels of consumer protection.

Significance of Retail Payment Systems

The EU Commission's Retail Payments Strategy of 2020 underscored the crucial role of efficient and effective retail payment systems for a smoothly operating economy. It emphasized that these systems are critical not only for national and cross-border economic transactions but also for private economic transactions between individuals.

This sector has been at the forefront of digital innovation in financial services and has witnessed several advancements in recent years. These innovations include contactless payments, mobile wallet services, and instant payments, all of which have transformed the way consumers transact, making payments more convenient and secure.

In this strategy, the Commission announced a comprehensive review of the application and impact of PSD2, taking into account the directive's relevance in light of market developments. Key among these developments is the growing popularity of digital payments, the rise of FinTech companies, the advent of blockchain technology, and the integration of artificial intelligence in traditional banking services.

New Information Requirements for Payment Service Providers

One of the central aspects of PSD3 is the introduction of new information requirements for Payment Service Providers (PSPs). The Commission has proposed increased transparency for credit transfers and money remittances from the EU to third countries.

Presently, users undertaking these transactions may encounter unclear or unexpected costs associated with currency conversion. To address this, the Commission proposes an obligation for PSPs to inform the payment service user about the anticipated charges for currency conversion. Such a measure will enable users to compare currency conversion charges effectively and make informed decisions when selecting their PSP.

Another critical area of focus pertains to payment account statements. Under the existing framework of PSD2, there is no regulation specifying whether the legal name or commercial name of a payee should be used on payment account statements. This lack of clarity can lead to confusion among users, who may not recognize the name appearing on their statement, and might wrongly suspect a fraudulent transaction. To remedy this, PSD3 proposes that PSPs include information in payment account statements that unambiguously identifies the payee, such as the payee's commercial trade name. This move is expected to enhance consumer trust and reduce unnecessary inquiries and investigations into transactions.

PSD3 also proposes to increase transparency regarding ATM charges. Under the new directive, PSPs will be required to provide users with information on all applicable charges levied by other ATM operators in the same member state. This will ensure that the user is aware of the total charges that will be applied, regardless of the ATM used, and can thus avoid any unexpected fees.

Protection for Users with Blocked Funds on Payment Cards

The issue of funds being blocked on a payment card is another aspect addressed by the PSD3. The Commission has proposed changes to expedite the release of unused blocked funds and mandate that the blocked amount be proportionate to the expected final amount.

Under the current system, when a payment card is used to pay an initial, estimated amount, funds are typically blocked on the card by the payer's PSP after consent has been given by the payer. These blocked funds are unavailable to the user for spending until they are released. This scenario can lead to financial complications for the user and dissatisfaction due to unexpected limitations on their funds. The Commission's proposed changes aim to rectify this issue, increasing user protection and ensuring smoother transactions.

Payment Services Directive 3 (PSD3)
Payment Services Directive 3 (PSD3)

The Evolution of Open Banking

Open banking is a concept that refers to the practice where account information service providers (AISPs) and payment initiation service providers (PISPs) offer value-added services to users by accessing their account data held by banks and other payment account providers. While open banking existed even before PSD2, it primarily operated in an unregulated environment.

PSD2 offered open banking a stable regulatory structure, obligating banks to facilitate access to payments data for AISPs and PISPs via a secure interface. However, the fast-paced evolution of the financial landscape and the advancements in technology have necessitated a review of the current state of open banking.

PSD3 seeks to make several targeted amendments to the open banking framework to enhance its functioning, without causing significant market destabilisation or imposing additional implementation costs. The key areas of focus include improving data interfaces' efficiency, increasing the reliability of open banking services, and further empowering consumers with greater control over their financial data.

Addressing Challenges Faced by Non-bank PSPs

Non-bank Payment Service Providers (PSPs), such as payment institutions and e-money institutions (PIs and EMIs), have faced significant competition issues, particularly concerning access to critical payment infrastructures and obtaining accounts with commercial banks. Commercial banks often refuse to open accounts for these entities or close their existing bank accounts, citing concerns over issues such as anti-money laundering controls.

Furthermore, the Settlement Finality Directive does not include PIs and EMIs as possible participants in payment infrastructures. This omission forces these institutions to rely heavily on commercial banks, creating a structural dependency and an unlevel playing field.

PSD3 seeks to provide a solution to these challenges, creating a more conducive environment for PIs and EMIs to operate. It seeks to refine the legal framework applicable to e-money institutions (EMIs), merging it with that of payment services to alleviate the practical difficulties faced by supervisory authorities in distinguishing e-money products/services from payment services offered by payment institutions.

Open Finance and Responsible Access to Financial Data

The PSD3 proposal also establishes a framework for responsible access to individual and business customer data across a wide range of financial services, referred to as "openfinance". The open finance concept takes a step beyond open banking by extending the principle of data sharing to other sectors such as savings, pensions, insurance, and investments.

The rationale behind open finance is to leverage the power of financial data to deliver improved financial services, foster innovation, and provide consumers with a better understanding of their financial situation. By providing individuals and businesses with the ability to access and share their financial data securely, open finance has the potential to revolutionise the way consumers manage their finances.

However, the proposal also recognises that such an expansion of data access necessitates additional safeguards in line with data protection rules. These measures include secure and explicit consent mechanisms for data sharing, stringent security requirements for data transfer and storage, and strict supervision and enforcement measures.

Role of Artificial Intelligence in Payments Framework

PSD3 recognises that technology is changing the payments landscape, with the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning playing a significant role in shaping the future of payments. Artificial intelligence can provide multiple benefits in the payments sector, including improved fraud detection, enhanced customer service, and streamlined operational processes.

However, the use of artificial intelligence also raises important questions about data protection, security, and ethical considerations. PSD3 acknowledges these concerns and incorporates provisions to ensure that the use of artificial intelligence in payment services is conducted in a manner that respects individuals' privacy rights and maintains the security of financial transactions.

In conclusion, the Payment Services Directive 3 (PSD3) reflects the continued evolution of the EU payment services market. It aims to further enhance consumer protection, foster healthy competition, embrace technological advancements, and ensure financial stability across the EU.

PSD3 recognises the changing dynamics of financial transactions and the crucial role of technology in redefining the payments landscape. As these trends continue to evolve, the regulatory frameworks that oversee them must adapt accordingly. This ensures that they provide a secure and efficient environment for transactions while fostering innovation in the sector.

The directive puts the consumer at the centre of its policies by seeking to improve transparency in payment transactions, provide better protection for users with blocked funds, and ensure responsible access to financial data. It also recognises the role of non-bank payment service providers in enhancing competition and improving the quality of services provided to consumers.

The implementation of PSD3 will require careful navigation by all players in the payment services market, requiring them to adapt their operations and strategies to comply with the new regulatory requirements. The success of PSD3 will be measured by its ability to strike a balance between fostering innovation and ensuring the security and efficiency of payment transactions.

The Payment Services Directive 3 represents a significant step towards realising the EU's vision of a single market for retail payments. By addressing the current challenges and embracing the opportunities offered by technological advancements, PSD3 can pave the way for a future where consumers have greater control over their financial data, transactions are more secure and efficient, and financial service providers can innovate and compete on an equal footing.

The new directive will undoubtedly reshape the landscape of the EU payments market. However, its success will ultimately depend on how effectively it can deliver on its promise of providing a secure, efficient, and inclusive payments system that benefits all stakeholders – consumers, businesses, and financial service providers alike.

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