The Minister for Finance has made Regulations to give effect to the ‘Payment Services Directive’ (Directive 2007/64/EC). Part 1 and Part 2 (except for Chapter 1)of the Regulations are effective from 30 September 2009 and the remainder of the Regulations are effective from 1 November 2009.
The Payment Services Directive clarifies who may provide payment services and sets out transparency requirements for the provision of such services. The Directive also sets out the relevant rights and obligations of payment service providers and payment service users. The Directive harmonises the regulatory regime for payment services across EU Member States and introduces a new EU-wide licensing regime for "payment institutions", allowing non-bank payment service providers to offer their services EU-wide on the basis of a licence obtained in any one EU Member State.
The Directive identifies six different types of payment service provider including credit institutions, electronic money institutions, post office giro institutions and regional and local authorities (when not acting in their capacity as public authorities). A payment service is defined as including services enabling cash to be placed on a payment account and services enabling cash withdrawals from a payment account.
The Regulations set out who may provide payment services and the basis for authorisation of such services. The Regulations also detail the provisions on transparency of conditions and information requirements for payment services. Payment service providers will also have specific rights and obligations. The Regulations contain transitional provisions including arrangements for payment service providers which were active before 25 December 2007.
The Regulations designate the Financial Regulator as the competent authority for the purposes of the Payment Services Directive. In respect of Part 3 of the Regulations regarding access to payment systems, the Central Bank is the competent authority.
The Regulations set out a number of penalties for non compliance and amend a range of existing legislation including the Central Bank Act 1942, European Communities (Licensing and Supervision of Credit Institutions) Regulations 1992, European Communities (Cross-Border Credit Transfers)Regulations 1999, European Communities (Protection of Consumers in Respect of Contracts Made by Means of Distance Communication) Regulations 2001 and the European Communities (Distance Marketing of Consumer Financial Services) Regulations 2004.