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The latest edition of the FMA’s consumer information series “Let’s talk about money” informs about the right to an account

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Under EU law, anyone who is legally resident in the European Union (EU) has the right to a payment account with basic functions. The latest edition of the FMA’s consumer information series “Let’s talk about money” informs consumers about “basic payment accounts” and explains how they differ from a standard bank account.

All the basic functions of an account are covered: deposits, cash withdrawals within the EU, direct debits within the EU as well as online payments. It is not possible to overdraw an basic payment account. All banks that provide current accounts for consumers are obliged to offer a basic payment account, and to make information available about it. Annual account charges are limited to a maximum of € 83.45, or € 41.73 for particularly socially and financially vulnerable persons. Applications for such an account may only be rejected in a few specific cases, such as when another functional account is already held, or the bank or its employees are affected by an offence punishable by a court by the person applying for the account.

The right to a “basic payment account” exists since September 2016, and is defined in the Consumer Payment Accounts Act (VZKG; Verbraucherzahlungskontogesetz). Since the start of 2017, the FMA has been notified about the opening of approximately 34,500 basic payment accounts, of which around 11,000 were in the last year.  In comparison, since 2017 a total of 658 applications for a basic payment account have been rejected (2022: 37).

This edition “Let’s talk about money” can be found at:

Journalists may address further enquiries to:

Annemarie Bauer

+43 (0)1 249 59 – 6007

[email protected]

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