The European Commission is considering bringing legal actions at the European Court of Justice against Portugal for failing to transpose new Community rules on bank fees.
The new regulations aim to improve the transparency and the comparison of bank services.
The directive, which should have been taken on by Portugal last September, has so far only been adopted by 15 Member States.
An infringement procedure was opened against Portugal at the end of November 2016, with the Portuguese government given two further months. This period is over and the government has done nothing to adopt the regulations, hence the request from Brussels to the Europen Court of Justice to initiate legal proceedings against the Portuguese government.
"It is crucial for consumers to be able to understand commission structures so that they can compare the offers of different service providers and make informed decisions about the account that best fits their needs," reads the directive.
The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Poland, Bulgaria and Slovenia completed the legislative work, with Italy following in March 2017. Latvia expects to start in the next few days and Finland has partially adopted the rules.
"All the other Member States have failed to advise on adoption," the Commission said, adding that it already had opened infringement proceedings against Portugal and sent a letter of notification on November 24th in which it invited the Portuguese Government to say what was going on.
Portugal’s Ministry of Finance under Mario Centeno, (pictured), which oversees the sector, has not commented.
The new rules cover banking commissions charged to bank accounts, including the interest rates applicable to overdrafts and receivable on deposits.
In order to obtain "unbiased" information on fees and interest rates charged on bank accounts, the directive will ensure consumers have comparable, publicly accessible and "operationally independent" comparisons available on at least one national website.