The Payment Services Directive (PSD) was transposed into Portuguese law last November and was received with criticism by consumers associations and other civil society groups in Portugal. Their concerns were mainly related to the fact that the PSD expressly provides for the possibility of merchants to collect charges from consumers on purchases made through point-of-sale terminals. The issue became so important that it was raised in the Parliament by some opposition parties only a few days after the PSD was implemented into Portuguese law.
In response to concerns of the consumers associations, the Portuguese Government enacted Decree-Law No. 3/2010 of January 5 2010, pursuant to which beneficiaries of payment services are expressly prohibited from charging fees for payment transactions processed through point-of-sale terminals. However, this recent Decree-Law also banned the collection of charges for ATM operations by credit institutions, notably concerning withdrawals, deposits or payment for services.
The Portuguese Government has justified its decision by saying that the prohibition on collecting charges will contribute to promoting the use of efficient payment methods and establish appropriate conditions for transparency and competition.
This is a unique case in the European Union, as the Portuguese are now the only European consumers who do not pay any fees to withdraw money from ATMs.
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