The Bulgarian National Bank (“BNB”) has approved an ordinance amending and supplementing Ordinance No 3 on the terms and procedure for the execution of payment transactions and use of payment instruments (“Ordinance 3”) and a new Ordinance No 13 on the application of international bank account numbers and bank addressable entity codes (“Ordinance 13”). Both ordinances were published in the State Gazette, Issue 69 dated 2 September 2016.

Ordinance 3

The amendments to Ordinance 3 transpose EU Directive 2014/92/EU from 23 July 2014 into the Bulgarian Law on Payment Services and Payment Systems. Further, the amendments update the provisions on payment transactions with payment and prepaid cards in light of mandatory provisions of EU Regulation 2015/751 dated 29 April 2015. The new changes also ensure the settlement in the real-time gross settlement system RINGS.

Ordinance 3 defines the term “acceptable fees”. Such acceptable fees must be lower than the average of fees collected by all Bulgarian banks calculated for the preceding calendar year and should be lower than the lowest fees which a bank charges under its tariff for the relevant services linked to a payment account. The core services linked to a payment account, for which banks must collect acceptable fees are listed in a separate appendix.

The average of fees collected by banks is not yet known, but banks are obliged to present relevant information for the calculation of this average by 1 October 2016. Based on this information the BNB will announce the average amount of the fees on its website by 15 October 2016. Banks will be given a three-month term to adjust their fees in accordance with the acceptable fee amount and acceptable fees shall start to apply as of 1 February 2017.

Additionally, Article 6 of Ordinance 3 provides for a new type of bank accounts, namely payment accounts for main operations.

Ordinance 13

The new Ordinance 13 repeals the one currently in effect and enters into force on 31 October 2016. It transposes provisions from EU Regulation No 260/2012 which enable non-bank payment service providers to assign international bank account numbers (IBAN) to the payment accounts they keep. The new Ordinance 13 applies, not only to banks, but also to payment service providers, licensed by the BNB and branches of payment service providers, operating in Bulgaria through a branch. This has led to a broader definition of “Banking Addressable Entities” that now includes:

  • Banks licensed by the BNB and bank branches in Bulgaria;
  • Banks, licensed in another EU member state, acting in Bulgaria through a branch;
  • Payment institutions and electronic money companies, licensed by the BNB, providing payment services, which relate to the opening and keeping of payment accounts;
  • Payment institutions and electronic money companies licensed in another EU member state that provide payments services, which relate to the opening and keeping of payment accounts in Bulgaria through a branch.