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Card fees increase at some banks

SEVERAL banks are increasing cashless payment fees, while Zuno bank is introducing a new fee for expedited issuance of a bank card.

SEVERAL banks are increasing cashless payment fees, while Zuno bank is introducing a new fee for expedited issuance of a bank card.

Prima Banka will increase its fees for cashless payments by 25 cents as of December, pushing the fee up to €1.50. Withdrawing cash from ATMs of other banks will also be more expensive, the Sme daily wrote on October 21.

UniCredit Bank has already increased the annual fee for the Maestro Bratislava Card (by 50 cents), as well as the fee for the XtraKarta card.

“Several banks have made changes and adjustments,” Maroš Ovčarik, an analyst for the Finančná Hitparáda website, told Sme. “Many of these concern services connected with the use of payment cards.” He said this might be related to a possible step by the European Commission to limit debit and credit card transaction fees.

Matej Kubinec of mBank, another direct bank, admitted that the regulation of fees for cashless transactions would probably impact a portion of the banks’ profits. However, mBank and several other banks denied any connection between their fee hikes and the expected changes from the EC.

One reason for the increases is to cover the expenses incurred from using these services so that banks can remain competitive, Zuzana Ďuďáková from UniCredit Bank told Sme. Prima Banka and Zuno also said such expenses led them to increase some of their fees.

The Slovak Banking Association declined to comment on the fee increases among Slovak banks, but its analyst Marcel Laznia noted that the EC’s proposal to regulate payment cards is still in the discussion stage.

“Even if the provision is approved, it should be effective only in two years,” he said. “Thus, it is unlikely that banks would already now be preparing for the potential regulation.”

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