Smith Backs Free Choice For Payments

08 April 2011

SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has signed a Written Declaration which calls for the protection of the right to choose how to pay for services.

EU institutions and Member State governments are currently being lobbied to make the use of cash increasingly difficult or impossible. This would severely restrict consumer choice and would lead to social and financial exclusion on a massive scale.

The Written Declaration calls for:

 * All EU citizens to have the freedom to choose and access the means of payment best suited to their needs.

* EU policy in financial services, financial education, single market, competition and social affairs to reflect this basic right.

* Such policies to not discriminate against the use of any free and universal means of payment without addressing the needs of vulnerable groups in society.

Smith said:

"It is vital that all EU citizens have the freedom to choose and access the means of payment best suited to their needs. The most vulnerable groups in society should not be forced to use the most expensive means of payment.

"Cash is currently the only available means of payment that is both free for the user and universal, while most card-based and electronic means of payment are restrictive; 2 in 10 adults lack access to transaction banking facilities in the EU-15.

"I have signed this Written Declaration because I want to see a better, more inclusive European society and ensure that future EU policies in financial services reflect this important basic right."