Parlamento europeo

Free current account: what the basic account is and how it works

A free current account, the basic account, is available for families with low incomes and pensioners.
How it works is established by ministerial decree 70 of 3 May 2018 which illustrates the rules and any all-inclusive fees that must include a certain number of operations.
Furthermore, the service must be offered free of charge to consumers with ISEE below certain thresholds or to pensioners with a gross amount of treatment lower than a certain amount.
The free basic account has the purpose of financial inclusion and allows everyone to use basic banking and payment services.
This is a service that provides the simplest operations to manage your money and is intended for the most economically fragile segments of the population who have less complicated needs.
Precisely in these cases, in fact, the basic account must be offered free of charge and must include a certain number of transfers, withdrawals, debits and credits.
Basic accounts, obviously, do not provide for the presence of credit or "overdraft" and therefore do not allow you to go into the red.
Charges may apply for any operations that exceed the established limits.
Pensioners with a gross allowance of less than or equal to 18,000 euros per year and those who present an ISEE form with a value of less than 11,600 euros can participate in this type of proposal.
In this case it is possible to request the account for free and people with financial problems are not charged management fees or stamp duty on current accounts.
The initiative offers the possibility of having a current account without fees.
It should be underlined, however, that the basic account at a reduced cost, like the free account, provides limited services and holders will only be able to carry out a certain number of transactions.
Here's how the basic account works and what the income requirements are to open a free current account.
Free current account: what it is and how the basic account works Basic account: what it is and limits on operations What are the characteristics of the basic account? Who is eligible for the free basic checking account? Basic account: operations allowed Free basic account, can opening be refused? Basic account: what it is and operation limits The basic account was introduced by Directive 2014/92/EU and the requirements for requesting it were specified with the MEF decree published in the Official Journal of 19 June 2018.
The proposal for a basic account was created to give everyone the possibility of making payments and accessing a savings instrument, without having to bear the costs of a normal current account.
Taxpayers who open a basic account must only pay an annual fee of a limited amount consistent with the purpose of social inclusion.
Additional expenses and commissions cannot be charged.
This type of current account has the advantage of having a significantly reduced annual cost compared to ordinary ones.
Among the disadvantages there is, however, the reduced number of operations that can be carried out.
What are the features of the basic account? The characteristics of the basic account are those defined by the MEF decree which specifies which services are provided: Types of services included in the annual fee of the Basic Account Number of annual operations included in the fee Annual account fee (with the possibility of periodic debit) inclusive access to alternative channels where offered – List of movements 6 Cash withdrawal at the counter 6 Withdrawal via ATM of the payment service provider or its Group on the national territory Unlimited Withdrawal via ATM of another payment service provider on the national territory 12 Transactions SEPA direct debit Unlimited Payments received via SEPA bank transfer (including salary and pension credit) 36 Recurring payments via SEPA bank transfer made with account debit 12 Payments made via SEPA bank transfer with account debit 6 Cash deposits and check deposits 12 Transparency communications (including expenses postal) 1 Sending periodic information (account statements and summary document) (including postage) 4 Payment operations via debit card Unlimited Issue, renewal and replacement of debit card 1 Obviously, it will not be forbidden to carry out additional operations, but the customer will be charged additional expenses which, in any case, cannot be higher than what is normally required to carry out the same operations.
Who is eligible for the free basic checking account? The basic account is totally free for some categories of taxpayers.
Pensioners with pension benefits not exceeding 18,000 euros per year, as well as all taxpayers who present an ISEE form with a value not exceeding 11,600 euros, can request the opening of a zero-fee current account.
As indicated by the MEF in the decree published in the Official Journal of 19 June 2018, to request the free basic account it is necessary to self-certify possession of the income requirements listed above and by 31 May of each year the bank must be notified.
You can have only one free basic account, even jointly, but only to family members who have been considered in the ISEE calculation.
Basic account: operations allowed The basic operations linked to the current account in question are therefore free, while for the others the bank's costs apply.
Basic operations include: crediting of salary or pension; bank transfers; debit card linked to the account in question; payments through the account; cash withdrawal via bank branches.
Banks are required to issue a debit card (i.e.
an ATM) linked to the basic current account.
This tool has no management cost and the operations carried out with this ATM are free.
There is a maximum number of operations that can be carried out free of charge and if the established limit is exceeded, costs will be applied.
Here are the services offered: Types of services offered Number of operations List of transactions 6 Cash withdrawal at the counter 12 Withdrawal via ATM of the payment service provider or its Group, on the national territory Unlimited Withdrawal via ATM of another payment service provider or its Group on the national territory 6 SEPA direct debit transactions Unlimited Payments received via SEPA bank transfer (including pension credit) Unlimited Recurring payments via SEPA bank transfer with account debit 6 Cash deposits and check deposits 6 Transparency communications (including postal costs) 1 Sending periodic information (account statements and summary document) (including postage) 4 Payment transactions via debit card Unlimited Issuance, renewal and replacement of debit card 1 Free basic account, can opening be refused? As already mentioned, the basic account, and the free one for the most vulnerable sections of the population, is required by law and for this reason both banks and Poste Italiane must offer a product with the characteristics of the basic account.
No credit institution can refuse to open a basic account unless the applicant lacks the necessary requirements.
One of the requirements that may be missing, for example, is residence in Italy.
The bank may refuse to open the basic account even if it suspects that it is being used for illegal purposes.
In any case, the reason for refusing to open the basic account must always be indicated.

Author: A.W.M.

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