On 30 April 2020, the Parliament of Albania approved the Law on Payment Services drafted by the Bank of Albania and proposed by the Ministry of Finance and Economy. The adoption of the law marks a significant progress in the country's EU integration process, by approximating the local legislation with the Second Payment Service Directive of European Parliament and Council of EU (PSD 2) and the integration with the Single Euro Payment Area. Also, this law meets a series of objectives provided in the action plan of the National Strategy for the Small Value Payment Market and the commitments of the Bank of Albania in the National Strategy for the Diaspora.
The law encourages the usage of innovative digital tools and regulation of current payment services and practices. The main milestones of the law are guaranteeing core values to consumers and increasing security and transparency on payment services.
In this context, the law aims to:
The law provides rules for:
The main novelties of law and the expected impact include the followings:
The promotion of competition and innovation in payment services. The law is expected to have a direct impact on boosting competition and innovation in the field of small value payments, promoting efficiency and reduction of the costs of such services.
The establishment of two new payment institutions:
The balances on the provision of payment services between banks and non-bank financial institutions.
Under the new law, non-bank financial institutions can open payment accounts and issue e-payment instruments. The law provides mechanisms which aim to eliminate any adverse practice implemented by the banks, for competition purposes, including:
Consumer protection. The law requires the establishment of special units within the payment institutions, responsible for addressing the protection of payment service users (similar to those of consumer credit), as well as a special unit in Bank of Albania responsible for alternative resolution of disputes. Such provisions will increase transparency in the services provided in the market and will create a consolidated framework for consumer protection.
The expansion of banking services across the country. The law aims to expand the presence of services provided by banks throughout territory, including rural areas, through the presentation and regulation of the model of banks which provide payment services through agents and not only branches.
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