All businesses active in the EU's payment services market will be subject to complaints-handling duties under plans outlined by the European Banking Authority (EBA).
The move, if confirmed, would see payment initiation service providers (PISPs) and account information service providers (AISPs) subject to guidelines that already apply in the securities and banking sectors.
The EBA's plans reflect the extended scope of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which took effect earlier this year. PSD2 brought AISPs and PISPs into the scope of regulation for the first time.
The complaints-handling guidelines applied previously to all 'payment service providers' under the first PSD, and now, under PSD2, AISPs and PISPs fall within the definition of that term.
However, the EBA said that 'registered' AISPs would only have to have customer complaint procedures in place to handle complaints relating to security issues. It said a distinction should be made between this requirement and those for 'authorised' AISPs under the PSD2 regime.
Registered AISPs are those businesses that solely provide account information services – they are exempt from many of the obligations under PSD2 but are obliged to register with regulators. Authorised AISPs refers to banks and other payment service providers that provide AIS in addition to other payment services that are regulated.
The EBA's proposals are open to consultation until 27 May this year and, if finalised, will apply from 1 May 2019.
The substance of the complaints-handling guidelines would not change under the EBA's plans. The guidelines were first set by the EBA and European Securities Market Authority (ESMA) in 2014.
The guidelines require businesses to have a complaints management policy, defined and endorsed by senior management, and a complaints management function that "enables complaints to be investigated fairly and possible conflicts of interest to be identified and mitigated".
The guidelines also require internal registering of complaints, the reporting of complaints data to regulators, and follow-up procedures to identify and address "recurring or systemic problems, and potential legal and operational risks", among other things.
The proposals (26-page / 390KB PDF) will "ensure that an identical set of requirements for complaints-handling continues to apply to all financial institutions across the banking, investment and insurance sectors", the EBA said.
"The extension of the scope will provide consumers with the same level of protection, irrespective of which regulated product or service they are purchasing and which regulated institution they are purchasing it from," it said.
The EBA urged regulators to apply the new complaints-handling requirements "in a proportionate manner, taking into account the nature, scale and complexity of the organisation of the institutions and the nature and range of the services they offer", to account for the fact some PISPs and AISPs are "very small".
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