On March 19th, 2019, following a public consultation, the Bank of Italy published its final report for the purposes of updating the rules on "Transparency of banking and financial transactions and services. Correct conduct between intermediaries and customers" adopted on July 29th, 2009, as subsequently amended ("Transparency Rules").

The purpose of this intervention is to implement certain EU Directives and EBA Guidelines into the Bank of Italy's transparency rules.

With specific reference to payment services, the new rules concern the second-level regulations implementing:

  • Directive 2015/2366/EU (Payment Services Directive, "PSD2");
  • Directive 2014/92/EU (Payment Account Directive, "PAD");
  • EBA Joint Committee Guidelines on complaints-handling.

In addition, some other amendments have been made pursuant to Directives 2014/17/UE (Mortgage Credit Directive) and 2008/48/CE (Consumer Credit Directive), as modified by Regulation 2016/1011/UE (so-called Benchmark Regulation), as well as to implement the EBA Guidelines on the remuneration of sales staff.

The new rules concerning payment services

The amendments arising from the implementation of the PSD2 concern the introduction of a regime of required pre-contractual and contractual information, as well as of transparency provisions and information/reporting obligations on operations conducted by Payment Initiation Service Providers ("PISP") and Account Information Service Providers ("AISP").

As to the implementation of the Payment Account Directive ("PAD"), the most relevant amendments concern the requirement to provide consumers of a "Fee Information Document" and a "Statement of Fees".

With regard to the Guidelines previously issued by the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities and revised by the EBA on 2018, on complaints-handling, the new provisions extend the deadline for responding to complaints to 60 days, except for payment services, by providing, in accordance with art. 101 of PSD2 – and in contrast to what previously proposed by the Bank of Italy with the consultation paper – a period to reply of 15 business days from receipt of the complaint. Only in exceptional situations, if the answer cannot be given within 15 business days for reasons beyond the control of the payment service provider, a holding reply must be sent, clearly indicating the reasons for a delay in answering to the complaint and specifying the deadline by which the payment service user will receive the final reply. In any event, the deadline for receiving the final reply shall not exceed 35 business days from receipt of the complaint.

These amendments will entry into force from July 1st, 2019, with the exception of:

  • The amendments to Section VI of the Transparency Rules regarding the Fee Information Document and the Statement of Fees, which – for the purpose of coordination with the rules on payment accounts, implementing PAD – shall apply from the date which shall be indicated by a subsequent decision of the Bank of Italy;
  • The amendment to Section XI, paragraph 3, of the Transparency Rules concerning the maximum response time to complaints, which – for purposes of coordination with the rules governing the submission of appeals to the Financial Banking Arbitrator – shall apply from the date indicated in a further measure adopting the amendments to the provisions of the Bank of Italy on systems for the out-of-court settlement of disputes concerning banking and financial transactions and services. Until that date, the maximum response time shall not exceed 30 days from receipt of the complaint.

The new set of rules is published on the Bank of Italy's website, together with the report of the consultation and the comments received. The rules will also be published on the Official Gazette of the Italian Republic.

For ease of reference, after these amendments come into force, they will also be published again and in full on the Bank of Italy's website in the form of the new regime of the Transparency Rules.