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Cross-border switching of bank accounts

New law improves service for consumers

A million little things have to be considered when you move abroad. To open a new bank account is one of them. With a new law, this will become easier in September.

As complicated as the name of the new "Verbraucherzahlungskontogesetz", short VZKG, sounds, the more it will make things easier for consumers. It will come into force on 18th September 2016 in Austria. The informational and customer services of banks are being strongly expanded (as summarised in this article).

Triple service

Up until now, consumers who wanted to open a payment account in another EU Member State had to deal with a high organisational effort. The new law clearly rules which tasks the (old) bank has to manage - without extra charges for the client.

The current bank institute - after a respective written request of the consumer - has to provide the following services free of charge:

  1. Contribute a list of all recurrent payment flows on the bank account, including credit transfers, direct debit mandates that are being switched, incoming credit transfers and creditor-driven direct debits executed on the consumer’s payment account in the previous 13 months.
  2. Transfer the remaining positive balance to the new account.
  3. Close the account on the date stated by the consumer.

Important note:

  • Six-days-deadline: The date stated by the consumer has to be at least six working days after the bank received the written request from the consumer. If the bank is not able to close the account, it has to inform the consumer immediately.
  • Termination periods: The new rules of the VZKG do not affect termination periods that may be defined in the existing contract with the old bank.
  • Features: The new bank is not obliged to offer all services of the consumer's old payment account. It is therefore important if the new account covers all your needs before you conclude a contract with the new bank.
  • Ten-days-deadline: The new bank has to open the new payment account within ten working days after receiving the consumer's request.

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