When is a savings account untouchable under PSD2 and new open banking rules?

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The team at Bird & Bird posted a short summary of the CJEU’s clarification on the definition of a “payment account” which came on October 4th, 2018.

What does this judgement mean?

The judgement clarifies that the key definition of a “payment account constitutes the ability to perform daily payment transactions from such an account”. Technically this means that a savings account, for example, which isn’t being used day-to-day for payments and transfers, doesn’t qualify as an account that a third-party provider could gain access to under new PSD2 open banking rules. The fact that a savings account has the ability to transfer to a “current” or immediate account doesn’t matter.

In short, simply by naming an account your “savings account”, for example, you’re not protecting it against TPP access. The only limitations for TPP access to accounts is if the account does not allow you to do daily payments. So, if your savings account is available to you in your internet bank and you can pay a bill or a friend from it, then it has to be accessible by TPPs.

It’s not really a huge deal for the future of open banking in the whole scheme of things. Most people would be unlikely to authorise access to a savings account, which doesn’t also act as a payments account in any other scenario anyway. But, it’s worth knowing which accounts are open for business and which remain off-limits.

In Norway and the Nordic countries, it’s normal that savings accounts are accessible for payments. This means that the Nordic banks are probably going to change their products to lock down the saving accounts to prevent third-party access.

Why will they do this?

Because the banks would like to protect the deposit business they have with their customers. They want to ensure that third parties don’t get access, information or give better advice to customers, resulting in money being moved out to other savings products.

This ruling will probably drive a lot of change in savings account terms. Just wait and see.

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