Bank accounts with no costs – Albania will adopt the European Union directive
Soon, Albania will adopt the European Union directive, which enables all age-old citizens a bank account at no cost or at a symbolic cost.
In an interview for TV Scan, Ledia Bregu, the Director of the Payments, Accounting and Finance Department at the Bank of Albania, says that by 2020, work will be devised to draft a law where direct payments accounts will be approved, offer every person the right to a basic bank. The Bank of Albania estimates that today only 40% of Albanian adults have a bank account, while aiming to reach 70% in the next three years.
Meanwhile, this year, the bill on payment systems will be presented to the Parliament for approval, among which the new EU directive, PSD 2, is reflected. The adoption of this directive in the new law will stimulate the growth of competition in the market payments, giving more access to non-bank institutions. This is expected to reduce costs and increase the quality of payment services for Albanians.
Another important goal of the national strategy for reforming the market of small value payment systems is the increase of non-cash payments by 130% by 2022. Bregu says that this is to be achieved precisely through measures that promote competition and will reduce costs, but also through increased efforts for better financial education.
The above measures are expected to have an impact on a greater formalization of incoming transfers in the form of remittances. Studies have shown that the vast majority of remittances are sent to Albania outside the banks’ channels, due to the high costs, but also the lack of financial education.
Another very important innovation that will be worked out this year is the establishment of a national payment system in the euro. This system will enable the repayment of national payments to individuals within the territory of Albania, avoiding the correspondent bank abroad. This will lead to a drastic reduction in costs and transfers to the euro will be at levels close to those in ALL.
Settlement of payments in euros will be made using the existing systems that the Bank of Albania uses for the ALL. For ALL transfers carried out through these systems, the central bank has decided to regulate fees that banks can charge to customers. Thus, a national transfer in ALL, regardless of the amount, can not be charged with a commission higher than 1500 ALL new. A similar adjustment is expected to be made for euro transfers when they are carried out through bank center systems.