Payment institutions are entities that are authorised, either by holding a licence issued by the Austrian Financial Market Authority or an authorisation from a supervisory authority in another EU Member State, to provide and conduct payment services commercially throughout the entire European Economic Area.
In this section you can find out more about the European background as well as detailed information about the Austrian Payment Services Act 2018 (ZaDiG 2018; Zahlungsdienstegesetz 2018).
In addition to payment institutions, among other entities credit institutions, electronic money institutions as well as the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, the Government of the Republic of Austria and the provinces are also permits to provide payment services within their administrative jurisdiction. In the case of credit institutions, which services they are allow to provide depends upon which banking transactions they are authorised to conduct. Unlike credit Institutions, payment institutions are not permitted to conduct other services over and above those listed above. Other business, which requires a banking licence, in particular deposit-taking business, is not permitted to be conducted by payment institutions.
Security in payment transactions is consequently increased, with the security requirements for the execution of online payments being increased (“strong customer authentication”) as the rules in relation to liability in the case of unauthorised payments being defined in a clear and customer-friendly manner. Chapters 3 and 4 of ZaDiG 2018 stipulate the transparency of the contractual conditions and information requirements for payment services. Customers must be information about all fees that are incurred. Similarly, in the case of an error occurring in relation to a transfer or a payment transaction, clear rules on liability have been established. These rules in principle apply to all providers of payment services (primarily credit institutions, payment institutions and electronic money institutions).
ZaDiG 2009 transposed the European Directive 2007/64/EC, the Payment Services Directive (PSD). Since 13.01.2016 a new Directive, “PSD2”, has been in force. Since 01.06.2018 the PSD2 has been transposed by ZaDiG 2018. New market participants (so-called “FinTechs”) in the form of payment initiation service providers or account information service providers are now also subject to a clear legal framework and supervision by the Financial Market Authority (FMA), with consumer protection thereby being strengthened. Security in payment transactions is consequently increased, by virtue of security requirements for the execution of online payments being increased as the rules in relation to liability in the case of unauthorised payments being defined in a clear and customer-friendly manner.
The Single European Payment Area – SEPA has been in force since 2012. As a result transfers within Europe have become quicker and cheaper. Since 01.08.2014 credit institutions are only allow to process transactions using IBAN and BIC.