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Financial Services Programme | Summer regulatory round-up

Summer regulatory round-up by Vixio 

Whether you had to recharge at home in London or you are lucky enough to live on the Côte d’Azur, while you were holidaying regulators kept busy and kept us busy too. We reported on more than 100 regulatory developments throughout July. To help you catch up with what happened, here is a selection of what we think are the most important events.


The summer started with a bang when, on July 02, 16 European banks launched an EU-wide payment scheme in an attempt to break the perceived duopoly of the existing card schemes. However, many experts are sceptical about the feasibility of the project.

Card scheme issues also dominated the UK developments – see the UK section.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament continued to work on the European Commission’s plans for a shake-up of anti-money laundering policy, with several MEPs sharing insights with VIXIO into the work. The resolution supporting the plans was passed on July 10.

On July 21, in what is now known as Schrems II, the EU’s highest court invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield, under which businesses had previously been able to transfer data to the United States while complying with data protection requirements.

On July 23, the EU’s data protection body published long-awaited guidance on the interplay between the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2).

Decisions are imminent on some of the biggest mergers in the payment sector, currently under review by competition authorities.

After being chased up a couple of times (more details here and here) by the Guardian of the Treaties, on July 23 Portugal finally passed the bill which implements the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5th AMLD) into their legal system.

While Portugal was doing its homework, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands were not: the European Commission decided to refer the trio to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to fully implement the 4th AMLD.

Non-compliance can be costly, as Romania and Ireland learned. The duo were ordered to pay a lump sum of €3,000,000 and €2,000,000 respectively for failing to take steps to transpose the 4th AMLD into their legal systems.

Meanwhile in Frankfurt, the European Central Bank’s patience with banks ran out on July 28 when it made membership of the TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) system mandatory for around 200 banks.


Card schemes took centre stage with a number of regulatory developments. First, on July 10, documents seen by VIXIO showed that the payment regulator’s board acknowledged soaring card scheme fees.

On July 29, the government announced a sweeping review of the payment sector, aiming to break the card schemes’ dominance.

On July 10, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) clarified safeguarding rules and, later that month, the regulator’s definition of an e-money firm stirred a heated debate.

Litigation experts told VIXIO about possible consequences of the landmark Supreme Court’s ruling in a long-running dispute between merchants with Visa and Mastercard, including possible call action against Visa.

Finally, on July 17, VIXIO highlighted signs that the FCA may take a more aggressive approach towards payment firms.

Beyond Europe

In a bold move, on July 23, the US bank regulator proposed creating a single federal payment licence.

Days later, the same regulator clarified rules on providing crypto custody services, praised by the industry as a major boost to competition, innovation and M&A.

Further afield, Chile took legislative action to reign in card scheme fees.

While on the other side of the world, Taiwan’s Executive Yuan approved the draft amendment to the Act Governing Electronic Payment Institutions. The initiative is part of the island’s policy agenda on the promotion of digital payments, integrating mobile payment devices with electronic payment services, among other matters.

Finally, the wait for open banking is over in Australia. After enactment by the parliament, the provisions of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Consumer Data Right) Act 2019, the domestic open banking regime, are now live.

Thanks to Vixio for the guest blog - Click here to find out more about the techUK Financial Services and Payments Programme

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