Krzysztof Wojdyło

Payment Services Directive finally implemented in Poland

There is a chance for uniform rules for payments across the European market. In a series of articles, we will review issues related to the new regulations that will impact nearly everyone involved in trade.

On 7 September 2011, the President of Poland signed into law the long-awaited Payment Services Act dated 19 August 2011, which—two years late—transposes the EU’s Payment Services Directive (2007/64) into Polish law.

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the new act. For the first time ever in the Polish legal system, there is an attempt to regulate all issues related to payments systematically, in one act. In the face of the growing significance and complexity of payment systems, it was vital to regulate this strategic area of the economy comprehensively.

Given the importance of the new act for everyone involved in commerce, we decided to present the key issues under the new rules to the readers of the Litigation Portal. We begin with some introductory comments addressed to the basic ideas behind the new regulations.

Common rules

The highest ambition of the new regulations is to create uniform rules for making payments within the European market. Achieving this goal is no easy task. Within the EU there are a number of existing independent payment systems, and there are various currencies in use on the common market. The new rules are designed, notwithstanding such differences, to create universal rules for carrying out payment transactions (including such specific issues as the time when bank accounts are credited, or liability for payments made by card), and to assure equal access to the payment services market.

New technologies

Not many fields of the economy have observed such dynamic technological growth over the past few years as in the area of payments. The market has evolved from cash transactions, through cash-free transactions (e.g. payment cards), to increasingly common online and mobile payments. The existing regulations were not adapted to these new solutions. Because payments made using new technologies require the appropriate level of security, it was necessary to create new regulations flexible enough to cover various technological solutions. In the upcoming articles we will attempt to assess how far this goal has been achieved.

Supervision

The need to assure the relevant level of security to entities making payments encouraged the drafters of the new rules to create new regulatory requirements. Under the approach adopted, entities that perform payment services will be subject to oversight by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority. This oversight may take various forms, depending on the scale and type of activity. In practice, many entities that have so far been able to provide payment services without any regulatory oversight whatsoever will have to submit to the supervision of financial regulators.

In upcoming instalments of this series, we will discuss specific key issues connected with the payment services regulations. We will try to present both the theoretical and the practical challenges faced by entities required to apply the new regulations.

Krzysztof Wojdyło, Banking & Finance practice, Wardyński & Partners